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Innerwear segment set to nearly double its market size to Rs. 62k cr by 2025

Digitisation has played a key role in sustaining sales during the pandemic, says Vinod Kumar Gupta, MD, Dollar Industries

Vinod Kumar Gupta, Managing Director, Dollar Industries Limited
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Vinod Kumar Gupta, Managing Director, Dollar Industries Limited

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The Rs 32,000-crore innerwear market in India is extremely competitive as it has so many players selling at every price category. It is moving towards organised market. But the whole segment is still essentially unorganized more in the economy and mid-economy segment, with organized players accounting for just one-third of the total. Digitization has been the key to sustenance for most of the players in the field during and post pandemic. Kolkata-headquartered Dollar Industries is one of the top three hosiery players in India with a market share of nearly 15 per cent. In an exclusive interview with Bizz Buzz, Vinod Kumar Gupta, Managing Director, Dollar Industries Limited, shares his thoughts on how this fastest growing category has been evolving and how Dollar, in particular, is growing through brand loyalty, brand repositioning

The Indian innerwear market has been an unorganized industry since a long time. It is also dominated, to a certain degree, by a significant number of small-scale companies, with 60-65 per cent of the industry divided and unorganized. Nonetheless, the segment is constantly evolving and moving towards organized market

Dollar is a one-stop-shop for everyone's innerwear needs. At Dollar, we have huge bouquet of products suitable for everyone in the family as we cater to men, women and children of any age or size. This availability of a wide range of products at every retail store also helps in creating a loyal customer base for us

How big would be the overall innerwear market in India?

The innerwear segment in India has emerged as one of the fastest growing categories and is currently estimated to be approximately Rs 32,000 crore. It accounts for nine per cent of the domestic fashion retail market. Additionally, the innerwear segment is expected to reach Rs 62,135 crore by 2025.

At what rate it's growing?

The innerwear market in India is growing at 17-18 per cent year on year.

Who all would be the leading players in the field? And what is your market share?

Over the years, innerwear segment has now transformed into a fashion statement. With a paradigm in consumer behavior, a number of factors have contributed to the growth of the segment, such as growing aspirations, evolving market trends, fashion awareness, purchasing capacity, exposure to social media etc. Dollar is amongst the top three hosiery players in India with a significant market share of about 15 per cent. With constant innovation and pushing boundaries, Dollar has become a popular homebred brand for over four decades now. Our vast product portfolio has assisted us to reach out to larger target audience.

What would be the percentage-wise break up of menswear, womenswear, kidswear, when it comes to Dollar products?

Men's innerwear accounts for 65 per cent while women's innerwear makes up 10 per cent. Kids' wear – 1 per cent, Thermals – 13 per cent and Athleisure wear – 11 per cent.

Which of these sub-segments is growing faster?

At Dollar, men's innerwear segment consists of 60 per cent of product portfolio and is still rapidly growing. The other segment that is showcasing a significant growth over the past few years is the women's innerwear segment. With the increasing number of working women, evolving fashion trends, improved awareness about the various fittings, and growing disposable income has led this segment to grow at a faster rate.

What would be the unorganized sector's contribution in the overall innerwear market in the country? Is it growing or coming down?

The Indian innerwear market has been an unorganized industry since a long time. It is also dominated, to a certain degree, by a significant number of small-scale companies, with 60-65 per cent of the industry divided and unorganized. Moreover, the innerwear industry is extremely competitive as it has so many players selling at every price category. Nonetheless, the market segment is constantly evolving and moving towards organized market. The whole segment is still essentially unorganized more in the economy and mid-economy segment, with organized players accounting for just one-third of the total.

Do you focus more on the topline or bottom line?

More focus is on the topline segment as it helps to not only capture the market but also penetrate in locations where we have low access or negligible presence. Additionally, the topline segment enhances the product portfolio as well as increases the range of selling in the market. There is a huge untapped market for both kid's innerwear and athleisure wear and has a huge scope to grow. We have witnessed a boost in the athleisure wear market post the lockdown and are expecting the growth to rise even in the coming years.

Does brand loyalty play an important role in this market segment?

Yes, brand loyalty plays an imperative role. Dollar is a one-stop-shop for everyone's innerwear needs. At Dollar, we have huge bouquet of products suitable for everyone in the family as we cater to men, women and children of any age or size. This availability of a wide range of products at every retail store also helps in creating a loyal customer base for us. For us, real success and wealth comes not from our benefits and gains but from the approbation and confidence we gain from our valuable customers. Through our planned infrastructure, competent management and perfected organizational collaboration, we aim to maintain our quality consciousness and preserve our customer's continued trust.

How do you position your brand in the market and how do you do that?

Dollar Industries Limited has become one of the leading brands in the hosiery sector. It has also made a noticeable presence across social media and e-commerce platforms. Dollar Industries Limited has extensively penetrated across India. Not only that, the products have also gone beyond the boundaries of the country and has emerged as the highest selling Indian innerwear brand in the UAE and the Middle East.

The rationale behind brand restructuring and consolidated brand architecture?

The main reason behind going for a brand restructuring and consolidated brand architecture was that we wanted to have a consolidated and single brand portfolio which will not only provide us consistency but will also ensure that all the offerings in the product portfolio are in synergy with the brand. It also assists the retailers as well as consumers to choose appropriately. It helps to guide future innovations and guides the categorization of the future product launches. Hence, we are creating a distinct brand recall value amongst our target audience. Hence, we did an extensive research, undertook retail visits, spoke to our stakeholders, did a competitive review, attended brand custodian workshops, and did an elaborate consumer research outreach and came to a conclusion to go ahead with the whole initiative.

The decision to implement the rebranding exercise was taken way before the lockdown. We already had plans to launch the new logo by end of March 2020 targeting our peak season. But with the global spread of coronavirus and subsequent lockdown, we decided to keep the launch on hold. With easing of lockdown from June 2020, we immediately planned to unveil our new brand identity. We thus initiated our first-ever digital launch in the presence of our brand ambassador, superstar Akshay Kumar, with whom we share a decade long association.

Any growth in e-commerce sales, particularly in the post-pandemic?

Digitisation has been the key to sustenance during the pandemic. As a brand that is constantly adapting to changing times, we realize the importance and potential of social media and digital platforms. We are able to communicate with our consumers via our internal social media platforms where we keep them updated about our new launches, campaigns, brand vision and thoughts.

The exercise has definitely helped us grab new eyeballs in addition to our existing consumer base even during the pandemic. For Dollar, the e-commerce platform was a strategic decision to keep up with digitization and also reach out to our consumers across the country. We witnessed a 3X growth in our online sales. Though E-commerce contributes to only 3 per cent of our sales percentage, we cannot ignore its growing popularity.

Ritwik Mukherjee
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