Friday, March 16, 2012: 10:42:50 AM

Retail Poll Feature

Indian footwear market potential still untapped

Survey reveals diverse nature of the market and the untapped potential of the footwear retail market

The Indian footwear retail market is one of the most rapidly growing and dynamic sectors in the market today. Though a bunch of international brands have forayed into the market in recent years, domestic players have also been witnessing robust growth. The key growth driver for the market has been the middle class in the urban and semi-urban regions, which now have more disposable income than ever. There is also a wave of fashion consciousness in the country, thanks to the influence of the media.

 
A recent survey by Retailing360 however showed that only half of the respondents feel that footwear brands are cashing in on the potential of the massive market. While pricing remains an issue, several players such as Alberto Torresi and Metro, among others, have been brave enough to price their products like the international players and still find success in the market.
 
According to Prof A Ramaswamy Iyengar, faculty - Retail, Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research, Mumbai, “India is one of the best markets in the world for launching new products and the footwear industry has a lot of potential for its diverse nature. There are various categories of shoes and ample takes for each. This makes the market rather diverse and each category holds huge potential.”
 
Global appeal
 
As the single brand route becomes smoother, more foreign brands are likely to enter the market and enhance the competition. For the customer, this can only mean better options and more competitive prices. The fact that more and more footwear brands today are opting for standalone stores and exclusive showrooms indicates the customers’ changing needs, which include high-priced products. The Retailing360 survey also saw the other half unable to opine about the industry scenario, which indicates it is somewhat mixed and unorganised nature. According to Mohit Mall, operations manager at Times Fiberfill Pvt Ltd, one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of engineered textiles and safety gear in the market, “Shoes manufactured in India have great demand in Europe in the industrial category. The market is likely to double in size over the next decade.”
 
For footwear companies, the survey is a great indicator of the potential of the market and also provides an insight into the factors governing consumer preferences.
 
Tias Chakraborty
 

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