Menswear retail is next big thing in e-commerce

New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) With increasing numbers of image conscious men splurging on clothes and accessories and just not getting the time to go out to shop, online menswear retailing is at an all time high. And e-commerce sites are stepping in to meet the demand.

Some hotspots on the web for menswear shopping are Elitify.com, Pernia Qureshi's The Men's Shop, GujralSons and SBJ House of Luxury.

It's a rapidly growing segment, said Amit Rawal, CEO and and founder of Elitify.com.

"Men's market is growing rapidly at a 13 percent annual rate compared to 10 percent for women. That growth gap will widen in the years to come. The fastest growing segment of online commerce is fashion, and it's being propelled by men," Rawal told IANS.

Apparel, footwear, accessories... the website dedicated to men houses a wide range of products.

Prices of shirts online start at Rs.2,500. Not too expensive and no traffic woes either.

"Our research shows that men prefer shopping online as it is convenient and efficient," said Rawal. Women, he added, usually struggle to find "unique gifts for their special men" so they too prefer "online personalised packaging that we offer".

According to report by industry lobby ASSOCHAM, the online retail industry in India is likely to be worth Rs.7,000 crore by 2015 and the credit goes to easy internet access and availability of broadband services.

The survey conducted by ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation (ASDF) is based on interactions with 500 shoppers in the age group of 16 to 35 years in 10 cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Lucknow and Jaipur.

The boost in online shopping motivated designer Pernia Qureshi to float The Men's Shop under her online pop up shop. The platform is crowded with menswear designer clothes from the likes of Rajesh Pratap Singh, Karan Johar + Varun Bahl, Atsu Sekhose, Rohit Gandhi & Rahul Khanna and Raghuvendera Rathore.

On offer are formal suits, pants and shirts as well as laidback denims, kurtas and shorts and accessories.

The minimum price is Rs.2,000.

"I feel men's fashion today has evolved leaps and bounds from just shirts and pants. Men today dress according to the occasion. With easy accessibility to online shopping, there is no limit for this business proposition," Qureshi told IANS.

"Retailing menswear online would definitely be the next big thing and is bound to catch on in a bigger way," she added.

Designer Varun Bahl agreed that the best way to reach out to a larger market was to cash in on the online retail boom.

"One can see tremendous change in the menswear market and it is much more different from what we used to see earlier," Bahl had told IANS.

If designers are cashing in on the online trend, so are conventional menswear brands.

GujralSons, a 40-year-old brand catering to men's ethnic wear, has also come up with exclusive wedding collection through their website as well as at their stores.

You name it, they have it - sherwanis, suits, kurta pajamas and more.

Online shops are also evolving by focusing on concepts such as Dial-a-Suit, introduced by SBJ House of Luxury - a men's apparel brand.

Dial-a-Suit, a one-of-its-kind concept in India, offers doorstep services with an entire team, including a customer relationship management (CRM) representative and fashion consultant, visiting your house with options in fabrics and styles.

"For women, shopping is fun activity. But for men it's serious business. With the comfort that online sales have to offer, online shopping will definitely rise," Mannoj Mehra, managing director, SBJ House of Luxury, told IANS.

The online shoppers, he said, were mostly "the new top brass and executives at higher levels in the corporate sector".

"They are the one's with good exposure and open to experimenting and embracing new fashion.

"Also, the young brigade of entrepreneurs, the new rich and traditional business families are looking for style forward wardrobes. Even if they are picking up traditional outfits, they need it to look stylish," he added.

(Nivedita can be contacted at nivedita.s@ians.in)

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