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Rishi Vasudev

Rishi Vasudev, Head, Flipkart Fashion.

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2018 Is The Year Of Disruption For Online Fashion In India

2018 is also going to be a year defined by exclusives and new, bold trendy and inspiring fashion styles that are in sync with global fashion trends. Categories that feature brands and exclusives will draw existing and new customers.

Fashion is perhaps the only industry in the world that changes colour four times a year. With the advent of online fashion, however, those hues have begun changing more frequently. In just a few years, the online fashion space in India has become a playground for innovators and 2018 is set to be the year of disruption, backed by a paradigm shift in shopping behaviour, increasing adoption of online fashion and ever widening selection. Meanwhile, growth in India’s online fashion market is exploding and the industry is set to cross $15 billion by 2020.

The changing face of the Indian online fashion industry is driven by some critical behaviour shifts currently underway. In 2017, men weren’t far behind women when it came to shopping. Being excited about sales, indulging in impulse buying, and taking time to make selections, are no longer gender-specific shopping patterns. This change is here to stay in 2018 and men will only continue to be more fashion forward and trendy.

Another shift witnessed in 2017 that will likely continue in 2018 is the way small-town shoppers have embraced online shopping. They’re not just shopping for fashion but are looking for international and premium brands online, besides beauty products and accessories. These shoppers from non-metros cities like Nagpur, Agra, Guwahati, and Nagaland, to name a few, have increasingly shown a greater affinity to shopping for fashion online. They’re serious buyers, willing to just as confidently buy fashion products as people from cities. These customers would mark the next wave of growth.

As it is, growth in India’s online fashion market is expected to be driven by increasing demand from Tier II & Tier III cities. Consumers there have high interest in fashion, footwear, kids and toys, which shows a lack of local choices. At Flipkart, over 25% of shoppers come from smaller towns.

Fashion gets intelligent

The behind-the-scenes story, of course, is the greater use of technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML), to understand, predict customer behaviour, and enhance their experience. AI, ML-based models are helping, the industry at large, to gauge what customers actually meant when they searched for products. For example, users from metros may be aware that ‘Wrogn’ is cricketer Virat Kohli’s fashion brand, but consumers from Tier II & Tier III regions may search for the brand’s denim trousers as ‘Virat Kohli jeans’. Technology should be able to work in both scenarios.

2018 is also going to be a year defined by exclusives and new, bold trendy and inspiring fashion styles that are in sync with global fashion trends. Categories that feature brands and exclusives will draw existing and new customers. Shoppers across cities (metros and non-metros) chose to shop for products that aren’t available elsewhere and which can give them an exclusive look. 

The Indian customer has evolved over the years. Shoppers now know what they want and are looking for exactly that product backed by a seamless user experience. The industry, at large, is adapting to that which is why 2018 is the definitive year of disruption for online fashion in India.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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