With the flurry of international kid’s wear brands coming to India, the category currently seems to be on an upswing. Kids are spoilt for choice with busy parents indulging them with expensive goodies, triggering a march of global kid’s fashion brands and toy houses into the country.
International brands such as Monnalisa, the Versace of kids, Chicco, Benetton Kids, Zara, Mothercare and Hamleys are all busy expanding their presence and widening their product portfolio as kid stuff has become one of the fastest growing segments in India. Anurag Rajpal, Vice President – Apparel Brands, Spencers Retail avers, “There is a lot to look forward to in the kids wear market as it holds immense potential within the country and also across the oceans. According to the ‘Global market review of children's wear - forecasts 2012’, the top 10 global markets, the US, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, China, India, Russia and Japan, are expected to account for an estimated $131.5 billion in children’s apparel retail sales by 2012. There is still a large part of the market that needs to be tapped, which means a lot of opportunities for many players to enter the market. It is up to individuals or organizations to realize the potential and break the myth of kids wear being a complex category.”
The US-based Nautica Kids and Burberry Kids have launched their collections in India, while the UK-based kids fashion brand Adams is set to start operations through the franchisee model. Sports brands such as Reebok and Nike also have rolled out their children category specific stores. Chicco, an Italian premium brand into baby nursing products to fashion clothing, shoes, beauty care products, toys, travel systems formally launched their first store in India in April 2010. Vineeth Nair, CEO, Chicco says, “In the kids wear segment you have a user-- the kids and a buyer-- parents. If you look back at the homegrown Indian apparel brands, operating 10 years back or even some operating now they are very garish and loud. International brands are a lot more toned down. As you see the evolving Indian consumer, there is a shift towards the child not being dressed up as a doll but being dressed up as a young adult and parents no longer buy oversized clothing fearing the child will outgrow them.”
According to industry experts the kid’s segment account for just about 5 per cent of the overall luxury market estimated at over $15 billion but its growing faster than other segments and is also more profitable. Sanjay Vakharia, Director Marketing, Oyo agrees, “India has become more fashion and brand-driven in the last 10 years. Parents are now settled on branded clothing and they want a similar thing for their kids. Interestingly, in some way kids are also representative of how upwardly mobile the parents are. And parents do not lose the opportunity to prove both points.”
As the market gets crowded, it’s the kids who are having the last laugh while brands are competing for market share.