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The scope of sportswear in India. How the industry is growing at a rapid pace?

Sunil Anchal, Founder and CEO- Arcley, talks about the scope of the sportswear industry in India. Sunil is an MBA in Strategic Marketing from Hofstra University, New York, USA. Sunil Arcley, a sports gear brand that offers Premium Sports Gears for today’s athlete.

Sunil Anchal
6th Mar 2019
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In the last few years, India has speedily caught up with the global fitness trend. Today our country is on par with the worldwide inclination towards fitness. The growing economy and the ever-changing lifestyle choices have driven the Indian masses and consumers to be more conscious of the health front. They are nowadays compelled to add on new health and wellness regime to maintain a fit living in their hectic lifestyle. This new lifestyle change in the fitness segment has benefited the sportswear industry on a large scale in India, which has now turned out to become one of the tops in-demand fashion and clothing segments of the country.


This changing trend has opened up new trade opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors looking at the Indian market. The country’s rising economic climate and altering approach towards the fitness is helping in surging the demand in the market for athleisure wears and gears. It has opened up room for new employment ventures right from building the brand and basic framework to entrepreneurial setup, advancing technologies, and services.


Sportswear and gears for men comprise the larger share of this market in India that is growing at a steady pace followed by the market for women and then a small share is taken by the kid’s segment. However recently, the market has witnessed a progressive rise in demand for women’s sportswear products. Demand for apparels and gears for women have now turned to be the fastest emerging segment in the sportswear industry in our country. The segment that was once considered to be highly underrated has now accelerated the pace and is a booming sector in the market.


Digitization has helped the sector in spreading information about such brands and forces it to comply with the needs of the athletes. This industry is not only doing well in the offline market but also for the online market as Indian customers often place orders online nowadays. In case, if a brand is well-known and trustworthy, online purchase is preferable.


As per the reports shared by various sources on the Internet, the sportswear market in India has shown a growth of 22 percent from 2015 to 2016, when globally the segment grew by 7 percent. Traditionally the Indian market was dominated by the well known international sportswear brands. These brands entered the Indian market decades back and established their presence well in the local market. But, over the course of time, the increasing enthusiasm of Indian consumers towards fitness and sportswear in general, gave the homegrown brands the opportunity to cater to the growing demand in the domestic market. The Indian brands have an edge over these international sellers due to the price segment. A lot of sportswear brands with affordable and quality products have entered the markets over the course of time and established their base among the target audience.


The sports good and apparel industry in India have been in existence for many decades. The industry has managed to flourish with a skilled workforce. Being labour-intensive in nature, the industry provides employment to more than 500,000 people approximately. With a rising economy and an increase in income, people are looking for the best option from various available brands. This is resulting in the sporting goods industry growing constantly as per the demands of the products. All in all, the sports industry in India has tremendous business potential, especially in the fields of marketing, management/sponsorship and trading and exporting of sports gears.

Athletic wear by Arcley


Indian economy demands value driven consumption due to the low level of domestic income levels and therefore international brands will get tough time to find monetization since their product positioning may not be to cater to price-driven products and markets. This is also an interesting fact in consumer markets that one side we see a huge demand in the market and another side we see phenomena of consuming products of internationally well-known brands. However, the uniqueness in Indian consumer market growth will create a new trend where domestic consumer demand will be fulfilled by majorly home-grown consumer brands. The reason behind this is adjusting product offerings and services per domestic paying capacity of Indian consumers. This is the reason where we see new FMCG and other consumer brands including in smartphones and home appliances popped up and got accepted in consumer market even after decade long presence of well-known brands in their respective categories.

If we observe consumer behavior, we can see that people get bored of a well known decade long-established brands whether it is the case of automobiles or other consumer categories.


So, the new generation of consumers wants to associate themselves with new entrants if these new entrants make sense to the buying behavior of new generation consumers. Sports gears are usually targeted to youth and people who feel young in their souls. They want freshness in their wardrobe and buying behavior. This is the reason that in almost all major countries we have seen and keep seeing new sportswear brands popping up to the surface and doing well. Everyone wants to see and support a new big brand in today’s world and if products and services are well matched per consumer expectations, there is a huge scope of new sportswear brands to make a name and history in Indian sportswear market.


In my opinion, new sportswear brands should focus on different paths and not follow traditional methods to sell their products; otherwise, it won’t make them unique. I assume sports brands can differentiate themselves from others by offering certain categorically positioned products, a sustained level of taste in products, a digitally vertical native brand for online sales platforms and majorly by creating their unique sales and distribution models for sustainability considering a defensive approach to stay in the market in the long run.


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