Trends Shaping The Indian Apparel Industry: Expectations vs. Reality

A few decades ago, clothes used to be a part of basic necessities although it’s still one of the basic necessities its standard has become high. The global apparel and fashion industry are expected to rise in revenue from $481.2 billion in 2018 to $712.9 billion by 2022, whereas Indian apparel Industry is looking for a hike from 108 billion dollars in 2018 to 223 billion dollars by 2021. This figure shows that we are discussing an important industry which is not only about just clothes but carries significant business opportunities as well.  Especially the Indian fashion industry has become a flag bearer of the aforementioned macroeconomic growth.   

The Indian apparel industry has a very close connection with Indian’s traditional values, and India’s cultural and this connection clearly reflects in Indian fashion. Now, this traditionally rich country has started to explore the world of global fashion gradually. Not only Indian fashion is aligning itself with the global trends but it is also shaping the global trends with its contemporary apparel and fashion trends. The psychology of Indian consumers is changing, and now their preference is moving from tailor-made apparel to readymade. Consumption of new trends in India is increasing gradually but still like a tectonic shift. But the future seems bright, and fashion and apparel industry has business potential in this South Asian Country.

Let’s have a look at a few key consumer trends that are shaping the Indian apparel industry.


More Indian rural areas are becoming urban. This fact can be proved by this fact that almost a decade ago agriculture used to contribute approx. half of rural GDP, but it has decreased now and reached up to one-fourth part of it. Apart from the change in rural culture, another reason behind spreading urbanizations is immigration of educated and qualified youngsters in big cities for jobs. People from rural areas get a good education which is easily available now and move to cities for their jobs and business. These immigrants pass the urban culture to rural areas. And that’s how the new trends of apparel and fashion reach remote areas as well. 

Expanding Middle Class

India is the world’s sixth largest economy. With an average GDP of 6-7%, India is one of the fastest growing economies of the world. Hence per person income has also increased. This made Indian middle-class women more conscious about clothing store. The middle-class women want to explore the modern trends and become a part of that society which sets the trends. This trend following society is increasing. Thus the opportunities are increasing for the fashion industry.


The one thing that played the biggest role and boosted up the fashion industry in India is digitalization. The combination of internet and fashion is that cocktail which everyone wants to taste. Smartphones became one of the basic necessities, and the newly developed middle class of India can easily afford it. The increasing access to digital devices and internet offers luxurious online shopping to its users irrespective of their living location either urban or rural. Digitalization opened doors for online apparel market in India. Fashion is no more an opulent thing which is available only for rich people. The availability of fashionable and trendy apparel online in India brought fashion at the doorstep of that every person who wants to emerge it.

Digitalization in India made it clear that Indian consumers are not different from their counterpart in the west. So Indian textile manufacturers also moved towards digital world and embraced digital technology. This move made clothes shop more aware of fashion trends, and they introduced many mediums to reach to their customers. Indian textile manufacturers are reaching to their customers through many social sites.

Diversifying product

This trend has a huge impact on women apparel market. In India, the cultural root is really deep, and on every cultural occasion like festivals and other functions, traditional clothes are preferred especially for women. Keeping this fact in mind, many domestic fashion firms and a few international companies have diversified their products by including non-saree ethnics in their portfolios. They also included a few more different items like western gown for women and semi-ethnic apparel for women and kids, and that has now become a trendsetter. As resulted, within the women’s wear segment, the demand for western and Indian ethnic segments have grown from with 21 percent and saree has become occasionally wearable apparel.  And the online apparel shopping websites, like, has dedicated a whole section for women ethnic wear for customers’ ease of shopping.

Women Empowerment

Women and kids apparel wear categories are growing at a good pace. The one reason behind this growth is a diversifying product segment, and another reason is the role of women. Now, women’s role is changing within the family, and they are influencing the decision making and contributing in family income. They are more aware of their looks and want to look stylish yet comfortable. This awareness is the key factor behind the growth of women apparel market. The market of women western wear is not limited only up to metro cities only. Semi-urban cities also have a huge market for women western wear. According to another trend, now parents are spending more money on their kids’ apparel. A smart and independent mother is choosing best for her litter ones. Many brands have launched some comfortable and smooth fabric along with innovative fashion sense to impress little ones.  Now people prefer brand tags not only their apparel but on their kid's apparel as well. It is expected that the kids market would reach up to INR 1,57,000 Crores by 2025. 

The Bottom Line

The changes in the Indian apparel industry are very much visible, and the main drive behind this change is the online apparel market in India. Apparel shopping online has made new trends of apparel and fashion reachable to every Indian. Middle-class Indians are earning well now and spending on brands which are making India a potential market for global brands. Digital, hence is the way for these global brands to compete in India. Thus, the Indian apparel industry is also re-organizing itself for a tough competition.