Airport looks, resort styles goad retailers to stock up on vacation wear

Comfort clothing such as maxi dresses and oversized t-shirts are in demand among travellers this holiday season. (iStockphoto)
Comfort clothing such as maxi dresses and oversized t-shirts are in demand among travellers this holiday season. (iStockphoto)

Summary

Retailers are tailoring their summer collections to cater to travellers shopping for holiday clothing to go with their ‘experiences’

NEW DELHI : Ankita Sehgal was all geared up for her 10-day vacation to Vietnam but for one important detail that she had to tick off her to-do list: shopping. Not in Vietnam, rather for.

“While I did plan to shop while on holiday, I still needed some things before the trip," said the 35-year-old ended up spending around 7,000 on pre-travel shopping, including for a new pair of sneakers, personal care products, and some comfort clothing such as shorts and shirts. “Sneakers for long walks as well as some casual clothing since my wardrobe is mostly office clothes," she Sehgal, an operations manager with a leading consulting firm.

Indians have evolved past the post-covid revenge travel phase, and are now actively holidaying both in India and abroad, spending their disposable incomes on collecting “experiences"—a trend retailers are looking to cash in on to make up for their tepid sales.

With Indians high on travelling, retailers are actively curating “vacation looks" and launching holiday-specific collections across categories such as apparel, accessories and even beauty products to boost sales. 

"Vacation shopping has become an occasion in itself," said Kavindra Mishra, chief executive at Shoppers Stop. Earlier this week, the department store chain announced a partnership with online travel booking platform EaseMyTrip.com to launch vacation-specific promotions and rewards.

Apparel retailers have been grappling with tepid sales the past several quarters with consumers spending more on “experiences" such as travel and eating out, stifling demand for products such as clothing and electronics.

Also read: From Baku to Batumi, Indian traveller hits the unexplored trail

In a recent joint report, Boston Consulting Group and the Retailers Association of India said consumption in India had undergone a “paradigm shift" over the last two years, with consumers favouring experiences such as travel and entertainment over traditional purchases, a trend that has notably influenced the allocation of expenses. 

The result: high-ticket categories such as jewellery and durables are now competing with mutual fund savings and holidays.

“Over the last one year, the share of consumer wallet clearly seems to have moved in the favour of travel and beauty," said Nitin Chhabra, chief executive, Ace Turtle, which holds licences for brands such as Wrangler and Dockers in India.

Retailers are now looking to leverage the increasing thirst for travel to attract shoppers with specific travel gear. And consumers seem quite willing to upgrade their wardrobe before a vacation.

Another retailer cashing in on the Indian travel bug is Myntra, which is seeing a “substantial" increase in demand for travel-related shopping. Apart from holiday-wear, luggage and other travel accessories, demand for sunglasses and caps too have spiked. The sunglasses category, in fact, has witnessed a 70% growth so far this month on Myntra as compared with all of April last year.

“Co-ord sets, maxi dresses, oversized t-shirts, and parachute pants are  popular with our women shoppers. We have ramped up our selection of resort co-ord sets and athleisure co-ord sets by over 200% to cater to the already evident rise in demand this season," said Jayanti Ganguly, vice president, business, Myntra. 

The online retailer is also working with influencers to create holiday OOTDs, or ‘outfit of the day’ looks. The retailer has amped up its menswear holiday collections too, with a 250% jump in selection across oversized t-shirts, resort shirts, joggers, etc.

Chabbra of Ace Turtle too said the company is seeing a surge in demand for travel-related outfits. “We do see comfort wear has gained popularity. Skinny and slim fits have slowed down and regular and comfort fits are selling more. Same is the case with tops that are oversized. Keeping with the trend we have adapted our collections to these fits," he said.

Reliance Retail, too, has launched collections tailored specifically for the summer holidays. 

“Travel remains a key passion point and has only become more prominent after covid. With that comes an opportunity to market our athleisure category as well as sneakers," said Jayesh Sali, head of marketing, Reliance Retail. “This phenomenon is not only limited to urban audiences but has also trickled down to tier-1 or tier-2 markets, signalling a change in the nature of travel."

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