“Covid has made brands more aware of business-disrupting circumstances”
Over the last few weeks, Trending Now has been bringing insights from industry leaders on how their organisations are geared up to seize the opportunities in 2022, break through the Covid disruptions and find growth and remain resilient.
In conversation with Adgully, Shekhar Tewari, Chief Category & Operations Officer, Modenik Lifestyle, speaks about the emerging trends in the innerwear segment, brand growth during the pandemic and post pandemic times, and more.
What are the trends that you expect to dominate in your sector this year?
The journey of the innerwear segment continues to evolve from basic hygiene factors like function and comfort to key drivers such as performance, fit, and fashion. Consumers are making smart brand choices and shifting towards having an exclusive wardrobe choice for different occasions. Dressing up in style starts from the inside and essential wear brands are beginning to cater to evolving life occasions and consumer needs. As a result, innerwear has started mirroring outerwear, so colours, fabrics, prints, and design are all becoming increasingly important. From having basic one-size-fits-all innerwear collection to owning multiple innerwear owing to different occasions has become the need of the hour.
People are becoming increasingly aware of international trends with growing focus on environmentally sustainable products. In fact, a survey revealed that about 21% consumers are willing to pay 5% or more for branded products that offer sustainable fashion, including innerwear and this percentage of customers will only grow.
With these things gathering pace, the brands will need to prioritise ethical manufacturing, conducting businesses with a heart, resulting in an ecosystem that supports the customers and our environment as well.
Online channel sales grew significantly in the last few years. Brands didn’t just tie up with the leading e-commerce platforms, they created their own online platforms too. The dedicated e-commerce portals just for innerwear have proven to be a game changer for the consumers and the industry.
This large segment dominated by unorganised players is now seeing a shift from unorganised to organised, with brands being swift to pivot to evolving consumer needs.
What are the challenges and new opportunities that you see emerging in the year ahead?
The increase in commodity prices and inflation will impact the innerwear category as well. This can result in people downtrading or reducing purchase frequency.
In terms of opportunities that are surfacing from the situation is that the companies are now re-engineering their product offering and brand propositions. They are adding more value to their products to retain their existing customers and attract new customers. Covid has made the brands more aware of business-disrupting circumstances and the need to be agile and plan better.
How is this year’s turnout expected to be in this sector as compared to the last two years? How strong the recovery will be? What are the changes that have happened in this sector in the last two years? How strong will this sector’s growth be compared to the last two years as well as the pre-Covid period?
Over the past two years, despite Covid and restrictions related to it, as a brand we did well. We undertook several initiatives, including repositioning of Dixcy Scott, increased our online presence and expanded our product portfolio, which have helped grow our brand.
Another major factor for the value growth is the increase in product pricing due to the inflation-led surge in our core raw material – cotton. Despite inflation, the essential wear sector wasn’t affected and the demand for our products remained strong. Essential wear is a primary need, and this acts as the most resilient factor against uncertain external circumstances.
In the near future, our category will continue to grow as innerwear is an essential clothing item, which we need/ use everyday, unlike so many other clothing categories that are occasion or season driven.