The Indian apparel market has demonstrated resilience and growth in an environment characterized by slow economic growth. The domestic apparel market, which was worth INR 207,400 crore (~USD 38 billion) as of 2012, is expected to grow at a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 9% over the next decade. After food and grocery, it is the 2nd biggest category under organized as well as unorganized retail. Further, on 7 December 2012, the Federal Government of India allowed 51% FDI in multi-brand retail in India.
The face of Indian apparel market is changing very fast. A new class of customers with more money to spend, and a growing passion for fashion, has been generated by swift development and rising urbanization. In India’s high-growth, fast-changing retail clothing market, one can see significant new growth opportunities for foreign and domestic players. Much has been talked about all these issues viz. future of apparel retail in India, the impact of foreign players on the domestic apparel retailers etc. But we should not forget that customers are the end beneficiary of all the retail activities. As a democratic country with high growth rates, the consumer spending has risen sharply as the youth population (33 percent of India‘s population is below the age of 15) has seen a significant increase in its disposable income. The apparel fashion plays a paramount role in shaping apparel consumerism. As lifestyles change, fashion in India is becoming more diversified, as in the Western countries. Technology, ideas and lifestyles are moving concurrently and quickly. Indian market has high complexities in terms of a wide geographic spread and distinct consumer preferences varying by each region necessitating a need for localization even within the geographic zones. Companies and brands that offered monotonous and mundane products for years, have now multiplied their product ranges and new appealing styles, shapes and forms are being launched each season by them. Hence, it becomes crucial to find out the perception of customers towards the various retail developments in apparel segment and the factors responsible for choosing a particular apparel store.
In the view of the above, an attempt was made not only to analyze the customers’ perception towards various retail developments in apparel segment but also to find out their buying behaviour with special reference to three select regions in India – Delhi & NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore.