What does it take to market Lingerie in India - Smita Murarka, Marketing Head - MAS Brands

by Smita Murarka
India, a country with approx. 700 million women population, is the most attractive market for lingerie brands, as it’s the most basic need for every woman. However marketing this category in a complex market like India comes with its own taboos and challenges. 

Fragmented industry with overcrowding of brands 

The lingerie industry is highly fragmented, with too many players in every price segment. The category is still largely unorganised, with organised players forming just one third of the market. There is an influx of new entrants with international brands and online labels, and strengthening of existing brands. This influx has led to overcrowding of communication in the category, and the consumer is confused to make the right choice for herself. 

Lack of category awareness  

Women have expanded their outerwear choices and are wearing a variety of silhouettes. However they tend to focus more on outerwear, and still consider inner-wear as something very insignificant, as its not visible, hence they are unwilling to upgrade to better quality products, and pay more. 
Ill-fitted lingerie is not only disturbs your overall appearance, but also affects body posture and confidence of a person. It’s important for brands to connect with consumers, to communicate on the price value proposition and push them to upgrade to make better choices for themselves.

Focus on Sexuality 

For long this category has been projected to portray sexual contexts in entertainment, movies and all forms of mass media, brands have added to this too by positioning themselves as a catalyst for man’s desire, objectifying women further. 
This has created self-inflicted rules and taboos in being visible externally, and creates restrictions on showcasing brand imagery in public places like malls, and outdoors.
At amanté, we have stayed true to connect with women directly, and help her project herself confidently inside out. We have stayed away from being sexual, as its not in real relation to the end consumer’s needs. The women to women communication has helped us gain attention and create unique imagery and content, which actually is relatable to the consumer. 

Availability of well laid out consumer experience  

Consumers have been shopping at traditional mom and pop stores, which are quite small and mostly manned by men, making the whole process of discovery compromised. This decades of poor experience made consumers run away from investing time into shopping the category , also hindering conversation between sales staff and themselves.
Looking at this opportunity, amanté launched its exclusive store network in 2015, aiming to provide a complete world of intimate wear with premium lingerie, sleepwear, sportswear and swimwear. Consumers are in an environment of privacy and thus can shop leisurely, with all products displayed and highlighted as per their need. The sales team is adept at providing fitting and styling guidance to lead them to purchase suited best to their body types.
E-commerce and social media has also changed the landscape for selling and marketing inner-wear in India. With the benefit of browsing styles from the comfort of one’s home, the multiple services offered like free home delivery, exchange, return etc, supporting the consumers to explore and experiment, and has changed their lingerie shopping behaviour.  

The category has come a long way in the last 5 years, with the modern women being discerning and curious about their choices than ever before. However the journey needs to be consistent, and there needs to be a shift overall in understanding the importance of the category, not treating it frivolously, both by brands and consumers.

About the Author
Smita Murarka, Head - Marketing, MAS Brands, India is a seasoned International Brand Marketer with over 16 years of experience building brands in the fashion and lifestyle industry. She has diversified expertise in managing functions of Marketing, Buying & Range Management, Sales & Operations and Business Development and helped set up & scale many brands in India. Prior to amanté, she has worked on brands like Lifestyle, Splash, Bossini, Kappa, amongst many others.