New India, Quirky India

The millennials in India are becoming bold. Nothing scares them more than the idea of being lost in the crowd. Everything that they do, everything that they wear, is a reflection of their style, of their lifestyle, of their likes, of their hobbies. So it is only obvious that the creative graphic tees are replacing the plain polo tees. The striped shirts are getting replaced by comic quotes. Balloon tops have given way to crop tops. The idea is to endorse a message, or a cause that they support. Apparels are just another means of making a statement, like a daily “status update”.

With this unique species forecasted to form 64% of the working class population in the next 5 years, they present the next big tectonic shift in Indian business, which has been identified by the new age start-ups like Bewakoof, Inkfruit, Redwolf, Chumbak, The Souled Store and a few hundreds more. It is a rage that was fuelled by a couple of popular fads in the recent past, starting with the sudden spurt in followers of Hollywood movies and TV series. The teenagers from the early 21st century were always looking for an alternative use for the idiot box playing “Saas – Bahu” soaps and blaring out morbid music throughout the day. The internet boom gave them just the required firepower to explore and get mesmerised by the creations of the West. The “Meme Wars” and “Trolling” culture on social media further inspired these millennials to have the sarcastic fun quotient as a necessity to be accepted amongst the cool ones. The waves of social media campaigns which flooded the internet subsequently gave the final push in this direction and established the abnormal as the new normal.

This trend has carved out a niche segment for itself leading to a war for creativity. With only a limited lifespan for original content, this industry has the most artistic minds in the country locking horns with each other, supported by the most comprehensive marketing efforts to reach and stay in touch with their effervescent customer base. A continuous stream of unconventional content on social media and blogs is vital to retain the existing followers. The volatile target segment is spoilt for choice, causing considerably low brand loyalty.

Serving the aberrant is not easy. The shift from “clothing” to “personal wear” was sudden. The next big transformation in lifestyle will also not come with a warning label. Only the truly creative will survive. Only the most clairvoyant market readers will gain the first movers advantage and capitalise on the opportunity. After all, when it comes to this industry catering to the funky, flexibility is the key and not standardisation.

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