New players faceoff in Indian innerwear category


05 July  2023, Mumbai

The women’s lingerie category is finally baring all and coming into its own by establishing a strong presence on social media, through physical stores, and connecting with urban women like never before.

A whole new bandwagon of lingerie brands is now competing with established names in a new evolved fashion landscape. The $6 billion innerwear market in India is a huge one with around 60-70 per cent of the market still largely unorganized and the balance 30-40 per cent being organized.

On the roll

With both online and offline brands growing at around 15-20 per cent per annum, big brands such as Jockey, Zivame, Van Heusen, Rupa, Enamor, Clovia, Marks & Spencer, Nykaa, and Amante among others are fighting for space. Meanwhile, competition is growing between two new kids on the block Reliance Retail and Nykaa, who are now becoming the country’s best-known retailers, and they are beginning to play out in multiple categories.

Reliance Retail increases store presence

With a strong online presence, Reliance Retail now has six innerwear brands in its portfolio, these include private label Hush retailed through Reliance Trends, acquired digital brands Clovia, Zivame, and Amante, and working partnerships with international brands Marks & Spencer and Hunkemoller.

Along with premium brands, Reliance Retail is concentrating on strengthening its physical presence with more stores to ward off completion from Nykaa.

Innerwear takes prominence

Reliance Retail is launching more stores dedicated to innerwear with a new retail format called ‘Blush Lace’. These will target the mass market, including Tier II and III cities.

Along with a dedicated mid-segment priced lingerie portfolio, Blush Lace will have women’s accessories; beauty and skin care products loungewear, shapewear, and sleep essentials with a USP of a one-stop shop for women’s innerwear.

Nykd from Nykaa going places

This focused effort is on the heels of its strongest competitor Nykaa which is making slow and steady inroads into the pan-India innerwear market with the Nykd brand available both online and offline. Nykd already has six stores in metros namely: Bengaluru, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Mysore.

Affordability; Also, it is becoming extremely popular with its lingerie portfolio of good designs at affordable price points and easy-to-navigate tutorials to understand what undergarments will suit a particular woman the best.

Nykaa revealed to the media during its recent investor day that its annual sales of Nykd have already touched Rs 85 crore within three years of its launch and there are major plans in the pipeline to scale up operations as business booms.

Established brands compete with new portfolios

Older, popular, and established players such as Rupa, with its 50-year-old legacy, are now repositioning themselves with the Rupa Frontline innerwear range with has an all-new and versatile product portfolio delivering consistent quality and durability at par with the latest global trends.

Rupa’s innerwear is made from 100 percent super-combed cotton which enables the wearer to feel comfortable and fresh and on-trend.

Creating buzz

Celebrity endorsements from  Bollywood star Ranveer Singh as their brand ambassador, roadblock display,  multilingual ads, and the e-masthead innovation of the website of leading newspapers featuring the “Vest of India” showcasing Rupa Frontline as the preferred choice of every Indian have helped the company stay ahead of the new entrants.

The Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail (ABFRL) as another veteran which entered the athleisure and innerwear segment in 2016 with the Van Heusen brand has continued to develop its innerwear and athleisure network with a strong presence in 159 exclusive physical stores and around 31,000 outlets by Q2 of FY 2022-23.

The bottom line is as Indian women become more comfortable about experimenting with their innerwear and trying out newer styles, competition in the segment will become more intense.

New players will go all out to woo the quintessential urban women with their styles, as established players will have to try harder to stay ahead in the race.

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