Mobile Is Heavily Influencing India's Fashion Industry

by CXOtoday News Desk    Apr 21, 2017

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India’s consumer spending is now heavily influenced by ‘mobile’ from monetary transactions to services such as travel bookings, shopping and ordering food. Fashion shopping, comprising apparel, shopping, lifestyle, footwear, among others, is emerging as a key segment that is thriving in the digital era.

A report launched by management consulting firm The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and social networking company Facebook titled ‘Fashion Forward 2020’ has predicted The fashion market in India is currently estimated at $70bn. Online contributes to about 5% of the total at around $4bn. In other words, about $7-9bn is already digitally influenced. This influence is expected to multiply nearly four times to reach $30bn by 2020, a number that will constitute 60-70% of the total branded apparel market. [Read the full report here]

“BCG and Facebook both found that one out of every three people that are shopping, online or externally, buy apparel and fashion so fashion is a good logical entry point. We see, of the 184 million Facebook users in India, 56% highlight fashion as an interest category, and if you break that down to the demographics it is the 18-34 year olds that are driving this category,” explained Umang Bedi, Facebook’s managing director for India and South Asia.

“The online fashion market is estimated to treble by 2020, to reach $12-$14bn. This will translate to a significant 11%-12% share of the total fashion market. Also by 2020, nearly half the fashion buyers will be digitally influenced. Digital influence in fashion has grown more than five times since 2013. Some 40%-50% of brand spend is already digitally influenced,” he added.

According to the report, digital footprint, which refers to fashion buyers with internet access, has more than doubled in the last three years. It will continue to grow rapidly as internet penetration is expected to grow 2.5 times by 2020 in India. Mobile is the primary device for internet access for 73% of urban users and 87% of rural users and this trend is likely to continue, as smartphone penetration continues to drive internet penetration in India.

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Source: Facebook-BCG report: Fashion Forward 2020

Here are the key takeaways from the report:

Mobile is the key device for shopping

Mobile has become the predominant device for fashion ecommerce, with 85% of online shoppers preferring to shop on their smartphone. Within mobile, apps are the preferred way of purchasing, with 80% of consumers preferring to use them over mobile websites. Mobile websites are seeing higher usage in small towns where consumers are typically operating with low capacity handsets. This, however, implies a potential barrier for new players. On an average, a consumer keeps three to four online shopping apps on his/her phone. New players must offer a unique proposition for consumers to create space for them on their phones.

Fashion leads in online purchase

Among new online shoppers, 30% start with apparel and footwear. Among mature shoppers who buy multiple categories online, 70%-75% buy apparel, footwear and accessories online. Deals and discounts and promotional material, such as emails, are key purchase triggers for new shoppers.

However, low awareness on websites or apps, as well as return policies, are big concerns for first time shoppers, who thus prefer spending low amounts online. Hence, ensuring flexible payment options and smooth handling of returns/complaints is necessary to gain the trust of a new shopper.

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Paradigm shift in online fashion shoppers

By 2020, the number of consumers purchasing fashion online will more than double. They will no longer be the typical young, metro residing, male users of today. A larger number of women and older age groups will start buying online, creating a much more balanced and representative shopper profile. There will be two and a half times more women shoppers and three times more older shoppers compared to today. Online shopping will also take off in India’s lower tier cities as the consumers there mature and the network and delivery infrastructure improve. Tier 2/Tier 3/Tier 4 cities will comprise more than 50% of the online fashion shopper base by 2020.

Finally, the report call out the need for shift in media spending towards digital where further scope exists for brands and retailers, as currently only 10-15% of ad spend is on digital media, despite the magnitude of digital influence on fashion expenditure.

The report concludes that as the Fashion Industry is at an exciting inflection point, marketers who stand to win are those who will stay ahead of this sharp curve to drive growth in the Mobile Era.