Sportswear is one of the most promising categories in the Apparel business. As the demand for Sports and Fitness wear is on a rise, with increasing awareness of health and fitness, the category will continue to grow globally. Especially in India, as this industry is still at a nascent stage, and only a few national level brands are available in the country, there is immense opportunity for existing and new players to grow their business, and offer better products to the end consumers.
According to reports from various internet sources, the Indian sportswear market grew 22 percent from 2015 to 2016, outpacing the segment’s global increase of 7 percent.
As documented by a Euromonitor research, the sportswear market in India has grown from Rs. 24,000 crore in 2014 to Rs. 37,000 crore in 2016 at more than 50 percent over the past two years. The same study has shown a 23.7 percent CAGR for the 2011-16 period with a forecast of 11.3 percent for the 2016-2021 period.
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After working for 15 years with more than 500 sportswear manufacturers in India, we have realised that there are 9 mistakes that most sportswear manufacturers make, due to which they are not able to double their business :
- Build up a brand – isn’t it strange that in our country there is not a single national sportswear Brand which can stand any close to the big 4 giants, whereas in China there are more than 30 local brands which compete on each high street with them. Focus on marketing and building brand recognition , so that buyers demand your product. As the saying goes “Early to Bed, Early to Rise, Work Hard and Advertise”.
- Quality before everything – make sure that any garment which carries your name , and reaches your customer should be of high quality. Today’s customer is ruthless, and any faulty product can spoil your brand image through online comments on social media pages. Testing of fabric namely FPT and garment namely GPT must be done at fabric and garment stage.
- Focus on value creation rather than cost cutting – in a market where we are all focusing on cost reduction , it’s more important to have a value creation approach, to think how is it that Nike is selling shorts at 2499/- and we are not even being able to sell at 699/-. If the customer sees your product worthy he is willing to pay for it.
- Buy non standardised/ stock lot fabrics – it seems cheap to buy at first, but you forget the effort it takes in making the samples, to promote it with your customers. Finally after you get your initial success and orders , and the time for repetition comes you do not get the same fabrics.
- Focus on the 80/20 rule – 20% of the items / styles which give you 80% sell through. Sportswear is more about functions and consistency,so don’t get too confused with too many fabric options available. Stick to the core and stable fabrics for your 80% business, and use fashion items only for 20% business. Always have optimum inventory in the core items. All top brands work on some NOOS styles, which are fast-movers and always available at the stores. Orders are released on a monthly basis for these styles, in contrast to the long seasonal planning done for non core styles. shelf space is one of the most perishable commodities. A customer who comes to the store, and goes back without getting it, is the worst a business could want.
- Time the market properly – plan your season calendar in advance, and make sure that you plan your product development stage, test market stage, order booking, production / purchase and final store dispatch date accordingly.
- Educate the customer about the Functional benefits of your garment – The sportswear garments are functional in application, with properties of Quick Dry, Elasticity, Anti Static, Long Life, Easy Maintenance, etc. If the end customer is educated about the benefits of these functions, his acceptance for Sportswear garments shall grow, and you would have a differentiating factor.
- Focus on Online / e-commerce : fastest and most widely growing sales platform. Transforming the retail space and buying experience. Platforms like Myntra, Ajio, Flipkart, Amazon, are being used extensively by the big brands and opening gates for many new entrants. You may even try SEO and try to bring customers directly to your website for direct selling opportunities and better brand building.
- Merge Fashion with Functions – growing trend of Athleisure, as sportswear garments are being used as a lifestyle and fashion from streets, to casual wear.
Lastly I would like to say, that the Indian sportswear market has a huge potential and in the next 10 years. As India is expected to be the 3rd largest consumer economy by 2025, as per estimates from Under Armour a $32 billion market for “focused performers’ ‘ exists in the Asia Pacific and India for sportswear.
We at Positex have been striving to get you the best in Fabrics & Fashion, since our inception in 2005, as Pashupati Overseas LLP. Specialising in the field of fabrics for Sportswear, Jackets and Outdoor wear we are the preferred supplier in Sportswear and Outerwear category for all leading International & Domestic brands in the Indian subcontinent like Adidas, Performax, Kappa, Alcis, etc.
With our commitment to deliver “Quality and Quantity, On-Time, Everytime”, we have been introducing the latest trends in the industry, and stay ahead of competition. As at the core of every fabric development that we do, is an understanding of the functionality of it. In our series of “Fabrics with Functions”, we provide function labels with the fabrics to educate the garment manufacturer and end user about the functions of the fabric.
Serving you with an experienced & committed team, we are prepared to cater to your requirements, through our main office at New Delhi, and associate offices at Bengaluru, Mumbai & Ludhiana. For sourcing and inspections we have a Liaison office at Shanghai, China.