What Indians Wore During The Lockdown
When people stay indoors, comfort clothing is the obvious choice. Not surprising then that track pants, T-shirts and shorts were on top of the buying list of Indians during the pandemic.
The nation imposed one of the harshest pandemic-led lockdowns in the world during the first couple of the months starting March 24. Comfort wear, also called athleisure clothing, saw demand spike after the first phase of restrictions were eased, according to sellers and manufacturers. Demand for formal clothing, however, collapsed as workplaces remained shut worked with skeletal staff.
Here’s what some of India's top clothing makers and retailers sold during the lockdown:
Demand has really gone up since things started opening up, Abhishek Ganguly, managing director of Puma India, told BloombergQuint. “There has been a substantial growth in two to three months as people are buying more t-shirts, track pants, shorts and slippers.”
Ganguly said there was a rise in the numbers of online orders, and Puma's sales are rising ever week. He, however, didn’t give details.
With stores remaining shut, bulk of the demand moved online. As a result, Amazon India said demand for athleisure apparel rise, according to its emailed statement. Demand for innerwear, kids clothing and maternity wear was also high, it said.
Myntra said there was pent-up demand as India’s largest online fashion and lifestyle retailer couldn’t deliver during the lockdown.
It saw higher searches for shorts and track pants for men and women, according to Ayyappan Rajagopal, head of business at Myntra. “The athleisure category is growing well and will be a big bet category in the coming few months, especially with the upcoming IPL season and the onset of winter when demand for sweatshirts and track pants sees significant traction.”
Adidas and Nike refused to comment.
A nation where more than two-thirds of 130 billion people are below the age of 35, demand for athleisure wear is expected to grow. The market which targets consumers in the age group of 20-40 years, is not only growing in large cities but also tier-2 centres as well, driven by online sales.
The market is dominated by Adidas, Decathlon, Nike and Puma. Brands like H&M, Zara, Superdry and Forever 21 offer a variety of products.
This apparel segment is expected to grow by nearly 40% over seven years to $14.3 billion in 2026, according to a report by Allied Market Research sourced from the industry.
Internal research by one of India’s largest apparel brands, which shared data without willing to be identified out of business reasons, showed that the athleisure market was growting at an annualised rate of 18-20% even before the pandemic. That, according to a Technavio report, compares with estimates of 3-4% average growth globally.
The pandemic has only accelerated that growth as people remain confined to homes. Another thing that goes in favour of this category, according to the Allied Market research report, is that all-year-long comfort clothing helps reduce in the number of stock keeping units and better inventory management.
The trend or necessity to work remotely or from home has had apparel and lifestyle companies clinging on by launching their own WFH ranges, the report said. “Leading international and local brands are shifting their focus to athleisure wear.”