In an exclusive conversation with License India, Mr. Lokesh Mishra, COO, Rhiti Group elaborates about the sports induced licensing market and active wear market in India.
What are the changing trends you are noticing in the sports induced Licensing market in India?
The sports licensing market in India is currently one of the fastest-growing sectors in India, with the arrival of the tele-broadcasting revolution in the entertainment industry, sports marketing and commercialization also boomed. Licensing in sports over the past couple of years developed into a multibillion-dollar systematic business in India with the formation of various leagues. Now more and more conglomerates are trying to build connections with franchisees & teams from various leagues like IPL, ISL, Pro Kabaddi League, Premier Badminton League, etc. Cricket however remains to be the strongest player in the market right now but other sports such as Football, Kabaddi & Badminton are gradually picking up due to their increasing fan following.
Does Seven have an In-house design team to create an in-house Product line? In such a scenario, how do you see Seven by MS Dhoni standing out ahead of others?
Seven has an elaborate and well sophisticated In-house design team, which constantly works towards developing in-house product lines which are designed and manufactured keeping in mind the current fashion scenario along with best in class technology to provide utmost comfort along with best in class appearance. Unlike the big brands which have dominated India's activewear industry, Seven provides products with high-quality fabric, best in class technology, latest design, and styles all of this that too at reasonable prices which makes their products available to even the middle & lower strata of the society. Being a homegrown apparel brand Seven has a better idea about the demographics of the Indian active wear market & all of this helps Seven to stand out ahead of other brands in India.
How has consumer behavior evolved in the fashion and lifestyle and active wear market?
The active wear market has tremendously changed over the past decade, in fact, it has evolved over the past decade. The market has mutated and you can clearly see the changes in the market as people already started shifting towards online purchasing rather than physical shopping even before the Covid 19 outbreak but what Covid did was changed the entire market spectrum and gave a boost to the digitalization of market. The way customers are consuming brands & information is changing rapidly due to the present social media. Customers are shifting from products like jeans towards yoga pants, joggers, shorts, etc as they are way more comfortable as compared to jeans. Jerseys, Sweatshirts & Pullovers (men) segment amounts to US$3,291m in 2020. Sneakers and different forms of sports footwear have overtaken the market by a storm, every other kid & even elders are spotted wearing them as they are more comfortable than the traditional formal shoes. The sports industry has a significant effect on the fashion industry & this is driving a change which is resulting in developing a more fertile marketplace for active wear manufacturers.
What according to you are the factors propelling the growth of the licensing and merchandising industry in developing markets like India?
The market licensing and merchandising industry is heavily dominated by sports like cricket and football especially due to the arrival of the Indian Premier League & Indian Super League in the past decade. The teams of this leagues have a really loyal and hardcore fan base, each of these fans wants to be closely associated with their favorite franchises or clubs & for this they spend a considerable sum on the merchandises which represent their favorite franchisees or clubs, this has given a significant boost to the licensing & merchandising industry in India. Earlier Indian merchandise market was dominated by European teams like Real Madrid, Football Club Barcelona, Manchester united, etc but now a day's our home-grown clubs like Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, Chennaiyan FC, etc have picked up the pace and have entered India's Merchandising market. This year's IPL on its first match of this season recorded over 200 million viewership which is the highest ever in IPL's history and also signifies its growing popularity.
How do you envision to make more “cool” Merchandise lines? What is the concerted effort to embrace young consumers' interest?
Youth is a very important demographic of active wear industry, they literally can change the path of a company in active wear industry. The young teens in India as well as abroad love wearing cool & fashionable sportswear such as sneakers, sports shoes, joggers, shirts, etc. Dhoni has always been a great influencer among the youth in India which helps in providing us a head start over other brands that are currently present in the market. We make sure that all our products are manufactured using the best quality fabric along with revolutionary and best in class technology. This helps to provide our customers particularly the youth with unparalleled comfort. We also make sure that all of our product lines are designed keeping in mind the current fashion scenario. So this makes our customers feel good on the inside whereas looking great on the outside as well.