Online promotion makes Indian ethnic wear popular globally

Bangalore, Aug 19 (IANS) Demand for Indian ethnic wear and jewellery are on the rise in international markets, thanks to the increasing use of e-commerce by India's small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

"The trend for Indian inspired garments and accessories is here to stay as suppliers with storefronts on e-commerce platform like ours have embraced the change in their business model, adapting to increasing enquiries online," Alibaba.com India country manager Khalid Isar told IANS here.

As a leading global e-commerce (b2b) platform for small businesses the world over, Alibaba.com International of the Chinese Alibaba group facilitates cross-border trade and helps SMEs worldwide to expand business in overseas markets.

Pointing to the shifting trend in favour of Indian merchandise, Isar said markets in new geographies had begun to take note of the vibrant designs and elegant patterns of its ethnic apparel and jewellery through the e-platform.

"As e-commerce plays a pivotal role in entering global markets, our members are leveraging the platform to support this emerging trend globally," Isar said.

With Hollywood celebrities and global fashion labels taking India-inspired attire and accessories on to red carpets and runways, Indian SMEs have seen a steady increase in buyer interest of their merchandise in newer markets.

"Since we started listing our traditional apparel and jewellery online in 2010, our sales shot up 60-70 percent this year compared to last year," Chennai-based Rajashri Fashions' owner Subash Jain said.

In view of the positive shift in global demand for Indian wear and jewellery as accessories, the Clothing Manufacturers' Association of India (CMAI) has projected the Indian apparel market to grow 13-15 percent annually by 2020.

"Apart from traditional markets like the US and Europe, we are getting more enquiries from countries such as Libya, Malaysia and Singapore, among others," Jain said.

Like Rajashri Fashions, Topdot Nxt-G, based at Surat in south Gujarat, has seen 15 percent increase in export sales of its high fashion garments such as designer kurtis, tunics and kaftans.

"Indian ethnic wear is being adopted by fashion hubs across the world, as evident from increasing enquiries from emerging countries like Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore and Sri Lanka besides traditional markets like Europe and the US," Topdot director Shivang Kapadia said.

In the jewellery segment, though there was resistance from a section of international buyers for traditional designs till last year, demand picked up this year once fashion designers of global repute started adopting Indian patterns and motifs.

"Our global buyers are fascinated with our intricately-designed jewellery, which are also showcased on e-platform. We are able to capitalise on the evolving market demand due to their growing visibility online," Masterpiece Jewellery chief executive Mayank Goyal observed.

Based at Aligarh in western Uttar Pradesh, Goyal's company, which manufactures all types of jewellery, witnessed 30-40 percent increase in export sales to Britain, Germany and the US this year.

Similarly, Mumbai-based GVN Traders registered around 35 percent increase in export sales of its ethnic jewellery to Canada, Denmark, Holland and Iran during the first five months (January-May) of this year compared to like period of 2012, due to aggressive promotion of its products on Alibaba.com.

"We have seen an increasing preference for our chandelier ear-rings from western, African and Gulf markets though we also manufacture various designs and styles of jewellery suited to diverse customers, including the Indian diaspora," DVN marketing director Neeraj Choksi said.

The 13-year-old Alibaba.com's English language platform has 37 million registered users from 240 countries and regions worldwide, with 2.8 million supplier storefronts for cross-border trade.

(Fakir Balaji can be contacted at fakir.b@ians.in)

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