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Reliance Retail Ready for Shein’s Return: Fashion Market to Soar to Rs. 11 Trillion by 2027

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Reliance Retail Ready for Shein's Return: Fashion Market to Soar to Rs. 11 Trillion by 2027
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Get ready for a fashion frenzy! Shein, the world’s largest online fashion retailer, is reportedly set to make a grand comeback in India after a three-year break. Partnering with the retail giant Reliance Industries, led by Mukesh Ambani, Shein is poised to capture a significant share of the booming Indian fast-fashion market. 

This move has interesting details, including a potential leader for Shein’s India operations and a focus on data security, which addresses concerns that led to the initial ban.

The Reliance Retail Shein Story So Far

Last year, Ambani’s Reliance Industries partnered with the IPO-bound fashion brand Shein. According to ET, Reliance Retail will likely appoint former Meta director Manish Chopra to lead Shein’s operations in India. This partnership is part of Reliance Retail’s strategy of bringing international brands to India, including American jewelry maker Tiffany & Co and British online retailer ASOS.

Chinese fast-fashion label Shein’s reentry into the Ire-entryashion market is poised to accelerate the already growing fashion retail industry. In 2022, India’s fashion retail market surpassed six trillion Indian rupees, a notable increase from the previous year. 

Projections indicate that the market will grow to over 11 trillion rupees by 2027. By 2024, fashion market revenue in India is expected to reach US$14.68 billion, with an annual growth rate (CAGR 2024-2029) of 10.65%. This growth is anticipated to result in a market volume of US$24.35 billion by 2029. China is projected to generate the most revenue in 2024, with an estimated market volume of US$236.80 billion.

Source: Statista

Shein’s Rise and Fall in India

Founded in 2008, Shein rose to prominence with its trendy, affordable clothing and accessories. The brand’s lightning-fast production cycle and aggressive marketing strategy fueled its global expansion. However, in 2020, amid border tensions between India and China, the Indian government banned Shein, along with many other Chinese apps, citing national security concerns. This move left a void in the Indian fast-fashion market, estimated to be worth $10 billion and projected to reach $50 billion by 2031.

Shein ranks as the world’s 5th highest-valued unicorn. As of April 2024, ByteDance, the Chinese tech company behind TikTok, led globally with a valuation of approximately 220 billion U.S. dollars. A unicorn is a privately held company with a market valuation of one billion U.S. dollars or more. By 2021, there were over 590 unicorns worldwide, predominantly based in the United States and China.

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Source: Statista

Reliance & Shein – A Strategic Alliance

Recognizing Shein’s brand’s potential and the market gap, Reliance reportedly inked a strategic partnership with Shein last year. This deal allows Reliance to sell Shein products through its extensive online and offline store network. Additionally, Reliance is expected to tap Manish Chopra, a former Meta director, to spearhead Shein’s India operations, leveraging his expertise in the digital landscape.

Conditions for Shein’s Return

The Indian government’s data security concerns haven’t been brushed aside. Shein will operate under strict guidelines to address these issues. Here’s a breakdown of the key points:

  • No Direct Equity for Shein: Reliance will own the Indian Shein business completely. Shein will receive a licensing fee based on a share of the profits generated in India.
  • Data Stays Local: All customer data collected through the Shein app in India will be stored and managed entirely within the country. Shein will have no access to this data, alleviating concerns about data privacy.
  • Focus on Indian Suppliers: Shein reportedly aims to reduce its dependence on Chinese suppliers and is looking to source more products from India. This could potentially boost India’s textile and garment industry.

The Competitive Landscape in India

Shein’s return to India will undoubtedly shake up the fast-fashion market. Here’s a look at its major competitors:

  • Myntra: Backed by Walmart, Myntra is India’s leading online fashion platform. It offers a wide range of products from international and domestic brands, making it a strong competitor for Shein.
  • Tata Group: The Tata Group, through its brands like Westside and Tata Cliq, is another major player in Indian fashion retail. Westside offers trendy apparel at competitive prices, similar to Shein’s model.
  • Flipkart: Another Walmart-owned company, Flipkart, offers a broader product selection beyond fashion, including electronics and home goods. However, its fashion section boasts a strong presence with a mix of established and private-label brands.
  • Nykaa: A leading Indian beauty and fashion retailer, Nykaa has carved a niche for itself with a curated selection of premium and international brands. While not a direct competitor on price point, it caters to a segment of the market that might partially overlap with Shein’s offerings.
  • Manyavar: This Indian brand caters specifically to ethnic wear and occasion wear. While not a direct competitor in terms of product category, Manyavar could potentially benefit if Shein focuses heavily on Western trends.
  • Local Brands: A thriving ecosystem of local Indian fashion brands also exists. These brands often focus on sustainable practices and cater to specific regional styles, offering a differentiated experience for Indian consumers.

Shein’s Potential Impact

Shein’s re-entry has the pre-entry to shake up the Indian fashion market in several ways:

  • Increased Affordability and Trend Access: Shein is known for its trendy clothing at highly competitive prices. This could make the latest fashion trends more accessible to a wider range of Indian consumers, potentially impacting sales of similar offerings from existing brands.
  • Focus on Fast Fashion: Shein’s business model revolves around fast fashion, characterized by rapidly produced, trendy clothing at low prices. While appealing to budget-conscious shoppers, this model raises concerns about sustainability and ethical labor practices, which could be a turn-off for eco-conscious consumers.
  • Shifting Consumer Preferences: Shein’s return could influence consumer behavior, potentially leading to a greater preference for fast fashion and disposable clothing. This could have long-term consequences for the Indian textile industry and traditional artisans.

The Road Ahead

Shein’s return to India presents a unique opportunity for both the brand and the Indian market. Here’s what to expect:

  • Increased Consumer Choice: Indian consumers will benefit from a wider variety of trendy and affordable clothing options.
  • Boost for Reliance Retail: Reliance can leverage Shein’s brand power and established supply chains to strengthen its position in the online fashion segment.
  • Potential Job Creation: Shein’s increased sourcing from India could create employment opportunities in the textile and garment industry.

However, Reliance Retail faces potential challenges:

  • Sustainability Concerns: Fast fashion is often criticized for its environmental impact. Shein will need to address these concerns by promoting sustainable practices and offering eco-friendly options.
  • Quality Control: Shein has faced criticism in the past for the quality of its products. Maintaining consistent quality standards will be crucial for building trust with Indian consumers.
  • Competition: The Indian market is already crowded with established players. Shein will need to develop a strong marketing strategy and offer competitive pricing to differentiate itself.

Reliance Retail-Shein’s comeback to India is a story with many layers. While it offers exciting options for trend-conscious shoppers, it raises questions about sustainability and responsible consumption. Shein’s success in the Indian market will depend on its ability to adapt to local preferences, address data privacy concerns, and potentially offer more sustainable options alongside its trendy selections.

Ultimately, the Indian fashion market is poised for an exciting period of change.  Consumers will have a wider range of choices, and existing players will need to innovate and adapt to stay competitive. It will be interesting to see how Shein navigates this dynamic landscape and what impact it has on the future of Indian fashion.

FAQs

  1. How much is the Indian fashion market expected to grow by 2027?

    The Indian fashion market is projected to reach a whopping Rs. 11 trillion by 2027. This signifies a significant growth trajectory.

  2. What role will Reliance Retail play in Shein's return to India?

    Reliance Retail will be the key driver behind Shein's comeback. They will handle sales through their online platform and physical stores, ensure control over data security, and potentially boost domestic production through their supplier network.

  3. How will Shein's return impact other fashion brands in India?

    Shein's presence could intensify competition, particularly for brands offering trendy clothing at affordable prices. Existing players may need to adapt their strategies to cater to evolving consumer preferences and potentially focus on areas like sustainability to differentiate themselves.


  4. Are there any concerns surrounding Shein's return to India?

    While Shein offers exciting options for shoppers, its fast-fashion model raises concerns about sustainability and ethical labor practices. Additionally, ensuring data privacy and potentially encouraging more responsible consumption habits will be crucial for Shein's long-term success in the Indian market.

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I’m Archana R. Chettiar, an experienced content creator with
an affinity for writing on personal finance and other financial content. I
love to write on equity investing, retirement, managing money, and more.

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