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Indian men take to brands

  Looking good is catching on. (Image courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/rakoskerti)
  Looking good is catching on.
The urban Indian male has been exposed to the many luxury menswear brands that have been entering and setting up shop recently. As consumers, they are equally open to purchasing personal care products which they wouldn't have considered a decade ago.

Recent entries in the Indian market range from the fashion houses Gucci, Hugo Boss, Salvatore Ferragamo, Armani and Versace up to the premium men's specialists Brioni, Ermenegildo Zegna and Alfred Dunhill.

Indian men are aware of the higher prices, but unlike in the past, are not afraid to spend large sums of money moving up the brand ladder in the quest for sartorial elegance and the best personal presentation.

Over the past few years, men under 25 and over 35 have become a major consumer base for luxury ready-to-wear. Indeed, there has been a shift from tailoring to off-the-rack brands.

According to analysts, a general increase in disposable incomes and greater brand awareness should see the market double over the next five years.

The entire Indian textile and apparel industry is expected to grow by 11% to well over US$200 billion by 2020. The major chunk of the market is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9% in the menswear segment.

The India Menswear Market Analysis 2010 to 2014 by Venn Research revealed that total revenues from menswear was US$11.8 billion in 2009, representing a CAGR of 8.6% from 2005 to 2009.

Formal suits, jackets and blazers contribute a significant sum, with Indian men taking to Western formal wear in a big way.

Research from consultancy Ernst & Young finds no surprise at the speed and growth of this segment. Westernised wear offers more standardisation for men than women, both for style and colour.

Also, men's ready-to-wear is simpler, with fewer customisation requirements as compared to women's wear.

Times are changing even in India's conservative formal wear market. A study by Paul Smith, the London-based designer brand, has found that demand has shifted from simple business wear to "lifestyle", with formal wear that is more occasion-based.

Also young people - mostly professionals - now feel that purchasing well-made suits and jackets are an investment towards their work wardrobe, as well as to enhance their professional standing.

The Indian choice is very much label-conscious. Design innovation is not considered as important as the exclusivity and recognition of the brand.

Men's cosmetics growth

The mindset of the Indian male has indeed changed drastically over the past five years, so that the personal care category is growing faster than the overall category growth rates for hair colour, skin creams and even soaps, where such products have failed to take off in the past.

The soap market for men has shown a surprising turn of speed, with the idea of buying soaps especially for men, an idea that just did not exist until recently.

According to Nielsen's research, the male toilet soap segment grew at a huge 43% in India in 2011, outstripping the overall soap category, which grew at just 7%.

This appears to be a clear indicator that marketers have managed to attract new customers to expand even in a saturated market.

One of the reasons for the male category taking off is due to urbanisation which is pushing the male grooming segment, aided by the proliferation of large numbers of brand choices available today.

Nielsen showed that while the overall category growth in skin creams was 27%, the male segment actually grew at 41%. Similarly, the male segment in hair colour preparations grew at nearly three times the overall category growth of 23%.

Though the trend is largely an urban phenomenon, it is not confined to the urban market. The trend is moving into the next level of smaller towns as well. With increasing consumer spending and awareness brought about by the media, the feeling that looking good is essential drives the male consumer to purchase products targeted at their grooming needs.

from Dave Mitra, Mumbai Consultant

(Image courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/rakoskerti)

Ernst and Young (India) Web: http://www.ey.com/in/
Nielsen (India) Tel: (91) 22-6663-2500
Fax: (91) 22-6663-2501
Email: communications.in@nielsen.com
Web: http://www.nielsen.com/in/
Paul Smith Web: http://www.paulsmith.co.uk

Content provided by Hong Kong Trade Development Council
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