A decade or two ago, India was considered to be conservative and largely traditional in its fashion sense with the eternal nine yard sari held as its prime fashion statement by a large number of foreigners. Global influences and the fast changing outlook among the predominantly young populace of the country have meant that Indian fashion has undergone a wholesale image makeover.

India’s fashion ecommerce market is poised to touch $35 Bn by the year 2020. In 2014, online apparel and accessories sales crossed $559 Mn, while the same demographic is poised to rise to $2.8 Bn by the end of 2016. This endless scope of opportunities in the Indian market is attracting the attention of renowned fashion houses across the globe, causing India to steadily become the largest source of revenue for these international brands. So, if you were told that the force behind this metamorphic change is not the fashion industry, but the ever-expanding IT and technology sector of the country, would you be surprised?

A sizeable chunk of India’s 1.25 Bn strong citizens is between the 18-35 years. These people are young, tech-savvy, fashion forward and most importantly, have access to considerable economic resources to afford updating their wardrobe frequently as per the current style trends. Armed with latest shopping apps and with a plethora of online fashion portals at their disposal, this youth brigade has embraced new age fashion with open arms.

The recent proliferation of digital devices, particularly portable devices like smartphones and tablets, along with increased internet penetration has no doubt helped to cultivate this phenomenon. India stands second only to China in terms of the number of mobile phone users’, as well as internet users in the whole world. Moreover, as these numbers represent only a fraction of India’s total population, it provides ecommerce platforms a very viable consumer base to tap in. But while these statistics make sense from a business perspective, it still does not explain why Indians have fallen in love with online fashion portals and apps.

So, what makes Indian fashionistas lean on these new means to satisfy their couture cravings?

The foremost reason that comes to one’s mind is economy. Imagine buying a Coach bag or a Mark Jacobs watch at a 60 percent discount? Unbelievable as it may seem, these are not a shopaholic’s idle musings. Online shopping portals often give huge discounts on high-end fashion brands by rolling out frequent sales and promotional campaigns.This hits all the right notes with Indian consumers who are forever hunting for a good deal that they can boast to friends and family about. Moreover, with several couponing websites also available and operating within the Indian market, it becomes easier to find the perfect addition to your wardrobe at unbelievable rates.

Convenience of shopping is another factor which has played a crucial role in firmly entrenching the position of ecommerce and mobile app in the hearts and minds of Indian fashion aficionados and explains, “why the ecommerce ecosystem in India has come to be dominated by the likes of Myntra, Jabong and Snapdeal.” You no longer have to go out to the mall and walk around browsing through several outlets and levels before deciding that there is nothing that suits your style statement. This is not only physically tiring, but also extremely time consuming.

Online shopping helps to avoid this disappointment in two really important ways. First, you don’t have to move an inch from your present location, and second, you can literally browse through multiple fashion portals at the same time to save your time and effort of visiting each store.

Physical stores cannot stock much of inventory while fashion portals, on the other hand, have their hands upon infinite space owing to their virtual format. You are bound to find the perfect apparel or pair of shoes to compliment your wardrobe which will be delivered at your doorstep within 7-10 days of your purchase. This is a convenience that physical brick-and-mortar stores cannot provide. Also, since there is no need to visit a physical location owing to its digital nature, online fashion experience provides users from the smaller cities and towns an unparalleled opportunity to purchase their favourite brands. In the absence of a dedicated fashion market, shoppers can replicate the retail experience of an upmarket mall without having to wait an inordinate amount of time for the local sellers to furnish the given item.

The rise of hyperlocal market segment has also impacted the fashion sensibilities of the population as well led to a reorientation of business approach. Marrying the convenience and swiftness of online shopping with the trust factor of brick-and-mortar stores, hyperlocal fashion & lifestyle brands such as Shopsity, Fashnear and Poketshop have initiated a seamless connection between online consumers and offline retailers.

In case you are wondering how this affects fashion shopping trends, a hyperlocal approach allows buyers to check out products in a physical store for all parameters – size, fit, and look – before they confirm the purchase online and vice versa. Moreover, it also helps sellers in reaching out to a larger audience beyond their immediate geography, leveraging the already existing inventory at physical stores and their proximity to consumers to save cost to businesses significantly. This saving in costs can then be utilised to provide additional value to the consumers. Considering the fact that nearly 90% of fashion & lifestyle apparel business is still conducted offline, adopting a hyperlocal approach is emerging as a very viable business opportunity.

As technology develops, these shops and portals have grown even more intuitive.There are now apps such as Roposo, Voonik, Wooplr etc. which can even design the perfect look for you given your body type, height and other details, while websites can often suggest preferable items based on previously browsed items and purchases. Given the benefits associated with shopping through fashion apps and portals, it is no wonder that India’s fashion enthusiasts are so taken by the concept.

For shopaholics who are die-hard trend followers, fashion-centric apps have translated their love for indulgence via technology and brought it literally to their fingertips!

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