Here as a part of giving our readers a new flavour regarding the realities of the Indian Lingerie market, we have started a column direct from the expert’s pen. With an experience of more than 20 years up his sleeves, Nischal Puri a veteran in the apparel and retail industry today, has begun his own consultancy firm, Horizon India. After seeing many notable lingerie brands to their glorious present, Puri has now decided to add another feather to his cap and an intent to spread his extensive knowledge and understanding with the industry, he has taken up to penning down the same for us. He is a successful entrepreneur and an established thought leader and consultant. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article marks the sixth and the last chapter of his long exclusive, informative series: ‘What woman want’. This 6 article series will capture the insights of the Indian lingerie market and consumer trends besides noting the dynamics witnessed in this category – as a result of nation wide research by Horizon consulting India.
Couple of years back in one of the trips to Srilanka, I happened to meet an influential Consultant . Mr. Dasan. He had over 3 decades of experience in the apparel industry and had spent more than 14 years working in manufacturing companies in Europe, Thailand and Vietnam, Mr. Dasan was now technical consultant to Victoria secrets which at that time was sourcing over 300,000 bra from Srilankan factories.
We spend good number of hours visiting factories manufacturing lingerie and compared the best practices used by different manufacturers. While there was a substantial difference in the size of the factories, the production methods were more or less standard in most of the factories. Success of Srilanka as the lingerie manufacturer and exporter is largely because of the dedication of the businesses in establishing the best production systems without any compromise and their strategic intent to continuously evolve the manufacturing processes. The other and perhaps the more critical reason for the ever prospering lingerie exporting business in Srilanka is the successful evolution and innovation in the accessories manufacturers, the elastic manufacturing companies.
So while the garment manufacturers were busy in establishing better and more efficient manufacturing systems and procedures, elastic manufacturers were equally busy in increasing the capacities and innovating the qualities and use of newer components in manufacturing of the elastics used in the lingerie,
The Manufacturing finesse
When we compare the evolution of the elastic manufacturers In India vs. the Srilankan counterparts it gets clearly established that elastic manufacturing is still at a very nascent stage. The current manufacturers of elastics in India are serving the demand very efficiently, they have capacities and are expanding the same also. However what they are not doing is INNOVATE, in my numerous discussion with elastic manufacturers in India the feeling comes that they are content with ensuring that their installed capacities are well utilized.
Horizon consulting conducted research with 15 brands and 6 elastic manufacturers to discover some of the key trends and issues in the Indian lingerie accessories category.
- 75% of the brands confirmed that they are dissatisfied with the quality and service of the Indian accessory suppliers. most brand owners commented that the accessories manufacturers and suppliers have poor marketing and client servicing infrastructure. They also commented that being proprietor driven companies the accessory manufacturers do not have professional setup to take care of the brand’s requirements
- 85% of the brand owners commented that the level of innovation is very low amongst the accessory suppliers.
- The accessory manufacturers though have invested in some of the latest manufacturing setup however they do not have any design team or professionals who can innovate the product. Brand owners confirmed that the onus of product development is on their inhouse teams and are largely dependent on buying international brand samples and imitating the same.
- 95% of the brand owners confirmed that they are keen to import the entire requirements in case the prices are competitive. It speaks volume of the poor service levels that Indian accessory manufacturers offer leading to very low level of loyalty amongst the brands. While this is a potential threat it can also
- 75% of manufacturers commented that they are doing very good and the brands are very satisfied with the service. The brand’s have an contrarian view of the service levels while the accessory manufacturers seems to be living under wrong impression The low level of innovation and poor client handling skills are not acknowledged by the manufacturers.
- 85% of accessory manufacturers feel the responsibility to innovate is the brand’s responsibility. Manufacturers are engaged in producing basic accessories, any attempt of innovating in terms of design or the material is not in their priority list. This poor levels of innovation is one of the key reason that the brand’s are still importing their accessory requirements.
The lingerie segment is getting structured and also professional, as more and more innovative brands enter the market, the lingerie market will surely witness aggressive battle to garner market share. however the journey of lingerie market getting consolidates will get a boost in case the ancillary industry also get structured, its a great opportunity for the accessory manufacturers to increase their professional working quotient and also enhance their innovation index.