New Delhi: Zara, the world’s largest fashion retailer, can no longer stay off the burgeoning e-commerce market in India. Later this year, the Spanish fast-fashion brand will start selling online in the country—one of the world’s fastest growing market for e-commerce.
“In 2017, Zara expects to launch online sales in India,” Inditex, or Industria de Diseño Textil SA, said in its results (global) statement for the year ended 31 January 2017. To be sure, Zara started leveraging the online sales route only in March this year in just two countries — Singapore and Malaysia. It will start selling online in Thailand and Vietnam in next few weeks, the company said in the statement.
Inditex, which owns popular fashion brands such as Zara and Massimo Dutti, entered the Indian market in 2010 through a joint venture—Inditex Trent Retail India Pvt Ltd—with the Tata Group’s hypermarket and department stores firm and has so far opened 21 outlets across eight cities in India. Globally Inditex operates 7,200 stores.
Zara is one of the fastest growing apparel and lifestyle brands in India and had a revenue of Rs842.57 crore in the year to 31 March 2016, up 17% from the previous year.
Zara’s plans to tap the online channel in India will expand the brand’s presence beyond the eight cities it is present in currently. Smaller cities and semi-rural areas are seen to be the next growth driver for e-commerce companies.
Zara’s rival US apparel retailer Gap Inc, which entered India in May 2015, started selling online in India a few months ago. Forever21, another American retailer, also sells through various online marketplaces in this market.
Swedish fashion retailer Hennes and Mauritz, the largest fashion retailer after Zara, however does not have any plans to sell products online in India, Janne Einola, chief executive officer, H&M Hennes and Mauritz Retail Pvt. Ltd, a subsidiary of H&M, had said after opening the brand’s first store in India in October 2015. The company, which announced plans to invest €100 million over first five years, will prefer to wait and watch before exploring the possibility to leverage the online sales channel.
India’s apparel market is projected to touch $200 billion by 2025, according to a study by consulting firm Wazir Advisors.