Today’s urban Indian male has become quite the shopper. Not only has rapid growth and urbanization spawned a new class of consumers with money to spend, but Indian men are increasingly embracing the idea of fashion as a means of self-expression—and they’re enjoying the shopping experience.
Considering this segment’s purchasing power—and its growing desire to look stylish—apparel is becoming a lucrative opportunity for brands to build on. Flush with homegrown and international brands, India’s clothing market is ripe to vie for the attention of the Indian male. But as marketers pine for this fruitful demographic, it’s critical that they understand how the Indian male interacts with the category before they solidify their strategies and marketing efforts.
Nielsen’s research shows that today’s urban Indian men enjoy variety—they don’t typically align themselves with one specific brand. They do, however, consider an assortment and then make note of a few to evaluate when they go shopping. Generally, the male shopper considers five to seven brands when he heads out, and ultimately settles on two or three he’s most comfortable with.
So as marketers move to engage with Indian male shoppers, they should have two goals in mind: enter the customer’s repertoire of brands and maximize a brand’s influence at the store.
The most important thing for marketers to do today is stay present in the consumer’s life.
Awareness or visibility of a brand is the most important driver of brand equity in the branded men’s apparel category, and can drive equity by 60 to 75 percent. It’s evident from our studies that the male apparel segment is largely undifferentiated, and equity is primarily led by how much a consumer knows of or sees a brand.
While advertising works to get a brand onto a consumer’s consideration list, it’s the actual presence and influence at the store that steers the consumer toward the purchase decision.
Studies on male clothing shoppers indicate that a brand can influence in-store impulse purchases by more than 40 percent. This level of influence stems from the fact that apparel shopping is now an activity of choice for men.
Today, the urban male has stepped out of his previous “don’t like to shop” mindset. Now, he’s actively seeking opportunities to interact with and shop for apparel. And when he shops, he often doesn’t have a pre-decided shopping occasion/mission.
But even if men do set out for something specific, we find that only one in four have decided to seek out a specific brand before they set out to go shopping. The remaining 75 percent of consumers are much more open to see what’s out there before they commit to a brand.
From visual merchandising to brand-specific in-store displays, the ultimate goal of any brand is to gain the consumer’s attention and divert him from others. Here too, brands need to understand the consumer’s mindset at the store and engineer their efforts accordingly to maximize their appeal.
Advertising in the apparel segment can be challenging, and brands need to see beyond the costs involved. There’s also a tendency in the category to have limited differentiation in the advertising, which leaves ads across most brands looking similar. This, in turn, fuels the undifferentiated state of the category.
From visual merchandising to brand-specific in-store displays, the ultimate goal of any brand is to gain the consumer’s attention and cause the customer to lose sight of the others. In that way, brands need to understand the consumer’s mindset at the store and engineer their efforts accordingly to maximize their appeal.
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