Aditya Modak is co-founder and director of Gargi by PN Gadgil & Sons, a contemporary handcrafted jewelry brand based in Pune. Aditya is a highly experienced finance, marketing and sales professional with over nine years of expertise working at CXO level at PNG & Sons Private Limited with proven courage in technical and people management.
Fashion accessories have only just entered the formal retail experience. With a long history in the unorganized market, ranging from small street vendors to unbranded stores, fashion accessories can now be found in custom collections through major brands, luxury boutiques, accessory chains international and multi-brand outlets. The ever-thriving e-commerce industry has also played a crucial role in the boom and growth of the fashion accessories market, providing a plethora of options for shoppers in India and across the globe.
Contrary to popular belief, accessories no longer fall under purchases based on need; instead, they’ve become a source for customers to make a fashion statement. Rising disposable income and the need of urban accessory enthusiasts to demonstrate their unique style and taste has resulted in the entry of several local and international brands into the evolving world of fashion accessories. Interestingly, even customers are now directing their spending towards things that add a “feel-good and feel-good factor,” and as a result, accessories are becoming more critical than ever.
A recently released report by Fortune Business Insights on the Fashion Accessories Market, 2022-2029 revealed that the global accessories industry is poised for remarkable growth in the coming years. Products in the category, such as eyewear, shoes, and jewelry, are mostly trending among fashion influencers and millennials. Asia-Pacific is considered the fastest growing market for accessories, with countries like India and China in the spotlight. To accelerate supply around offline stores, retailers in these markets are leveraging technology to enhance the in-store experience using facilities such as digital screens and checkout counters.
Factors driving this change
Women in the Labor Force
As the ratio of women participating in the workforce increases, their demand for work-friendly clothing and accessories is increasing by leaps and bounds. Additionally, the fact that women have taken control of their finances and the freedom to make choices independently has pushed them to buy things that make them look and feel good. Thus, more and more women who love different accessories are investing heavily in branded and non-branded value pieces like sunglasses, bags and jewelry.
Changing customer mindset
The fashion accessories industry in India, primarily, has evolved tremendously over the past few years and has seen a natural progression. Over these years, we have also seen consumers happily embrace fashion accessories and fake jewelry just as much as gold and silver jewelry. As a traditional country and heavily inclined towards precious metals, this positive change has allowed modern customers to access their favorite trends at a price suitable for each segment.
With the rise of purchasing power, the need to differentiate drives customers to seek personalization of their products and shopping experiences. Jewelry that can be personalized and the design process that can be controlled and observed by customers have generated immense demand, and it is highly likely that this trend will continue to grow.
Growing interest among men
The unforeseen area of growth for the industry has been the changing preferences of Indian male consumers, who are now becoming fashion conscious and embracing the presence of accessories just as much as their female counterparts. Today’s men like to wear fashionable bracelets and chains with pendants, matching bags, belts and sunglasses for moods, weather and occasions. There seems to have been a significant influence on Bollywood and Hollywood.
Impact of social media
The Indian market has witnessed the most significant shifts in social factors, driven by the growing use of mobile phones and social media. The latter influenced more than two-thirds of accessories and fashion apparel purchases in 2022. Overall, social media, e-commerce platforms and the internet offered customers Tier II cities and above easy access to a range of products and brands. Therefore, fashion accessories, among others, have become a preferred choice for buyers belonging to this segment of society.
The last word
The Indian fashion accessories industry has shown significant growth potential, provided proper strategies are employed that take into account the unique demographics and ever-changing consumer trends. Many players have entered the market over the past decade, but very few have survived and successfully built a brand. The reasons are many: poor quality, incorrect target market, price, and lack of customization or variety. In reality, millennials must be the primary target audience, due to their growing purchasing power and demographic status. They embody an ideal customer for the accessory industry, given that their consumption habits are motivated by impulse buying. Not to mention, with an increasing number of millennials becoming parents, the market for children’s fashion accessories also offers great potential and a void yet to be filled.
It will be interesting to see how the accessories industry reinvents itself to keep pace with customer needs and market trends in the years to come.