The trousers have a suspected history of being originated in East Asia with the oldest known one found at the Yanghai cemetery in Turpan, Xinjiang, western China, dated to the period between the 13th and the 10th centuries BC. Starting with a design of straight legs and wide crotches on wool, likely made for horseback riding, trousers have gone through a fashion journey, evolving from a formal attire into a key element of fashion. A pair of trousers has created a niche market globally and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8% to reach a value of INR 37,540 Crores (US$ 375.4 Billion) in 2019 from the size of INR 25,180 Crores(US$251.8 Billion) of 2014 in India. Highest revenue generated last year in trousers was in the US. In the market for Trousers (men & boys) of US, the volume is expected to increase to 1,653.94 mn pieces by 2021. On the other hand, the Women trousers’ segment is estimated to reach USD 37,962mn in 2019 and the market volume is expected to be 2,426.04 mn pieces by 2021.
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With the constant evolution of fashion industry and fashion designers entwining various trends the trousers market is now comprises of all kind of fabric and colour options. A range of trendy trousers are available for both men and women, incorporating it in their everyday wardrobe. This has boosted the sale and export of the same.
Also, technology has made it possible for players to offer a variety of feels and appearances. Blended fabrics, for instance, lend the comfort of cotton while retaining their appealing appearance. Again, with there being wider price diversity, with men’s trousers available at low, economy, medium, premium and super-premium price-points, the segment offers options for all customers.
The trouser market has demonstrated a gradual increase in size and trousers made from blended and manmade fabrics are more in demand compared to cotton fabrics, as they are easy to wash, dry quickly, resist wrinkles, and are also resistant to moths and mildew.
Growth of Trousers in Eastern Countries
Men worldwide have emerged to pay attention to what they wear and how they look. In Eastern countries, especially from upper middle and high income segments in big cities, people are becoming more aware of high-end products due to the premiumisation trend. Such consumers tend to interact with customers or clients regularly and believe their image strongly impacts their success and status. In the future, more new players are set to enter the area, with the competitive landscape thus expected to continue to become tougher. In Singapore, men’s trousers were one of the most dynamic categories, with it returning to growth in current value terms in past two years. Men in Singapore tend to dress quite conservatively, but due to the hot and humid weather there is less demand for men’s suits, with the preference being for smart shorts and trousers and shirts.
US: Biggest buyer of Trousers
Trousers generated the most revenue in global comparison in United States, estimating US$37.962bn for girls and women segment and US$34.311bn in Male segment in 2019.
Revenue in the female Trousers’ segment amounts to USD 37.962bn in 2019. The market is expected to grow annually by 2.4% (CAGR 2019-2021). In relation to total population figures, per person revenues of US$114.98 are generated in 2019 for the segment. On the other hand, for the Trousers’ segment of men and boys, was worth US$34.311bn in 2019 and the market is expected to grow annually by 1.8% (CAGR 2019-2021). In relation to total population figures, per person revenues of US$103.92 are generated in 2019 as of the segment. Reportedly US imported trousers worth US$ 2.76bn in the year 2018 in total which is 10.33% more than the previous year. Among this, the most amounts of trousers imported were from China worth US$0.49bn in 2018, a 3.43% hike from its previous year of US$0.47bn. After China, Vietnam exported maximum trousers to US worth US$0.61bn with a growth of 10.30% from previous year. Bangladesh ranked third with exporting worth US$0.24bn (in 2018) trousers with 7.09% growth from 2017. In comparison India exported trousers only worth US$0.02 bn with a negative growth of -4.64% from previous year.
Consumer’s demand at present is seemingly shifting towards occasional; specific and branded clothing that are ready-made with innovative colours and styles. The consumer today can be classified as value seekers and image seekers where the value seeker goes for quality and comfort at an acceptable price, the latter generally relies on the retailer’s recommendation. However, the market demand is such that the retailers and manufacturers must keep accessibility and availability of the product in mind.
Europe Facing Challenges in Trousers’ Segment
Menswear in Western Europe has declined last few years because of consumer’s declining confidence and expenditure on the back of two major economic downturns in quick succession. Unit prices have suffered, undermining more positive volume developments. The three leading brands in menswear are all fast fashion: H&M, Zara and Primark. Younger men, in particular, in Western Europe are increasingly aware of the mentioned brands design-led offerings at affordable prices, which have been in high demand through the region. Western Europe is lagging behind in Menswear (especially formal) due to weakness in key markets, Italy leading the contraction of major regional markets. Formal clothing categories lead the decline in menswear value sales with the emerging trend of casual wear and online shopping resulting in slow growth in trousers. In UK, One of the most important product characteristics sought by consumers is the fit, according to a Euromonitor lifestyle survey, particularly when it comes to tailored clothing. Marks & Spencer and Next remain the leading players in menswear.
Why India Is Still Struggling in Trousers Segment
There are about 60 regional and national trouser brands in the Indian market that are growing annually at around 30–35%; it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8 percent, from Rs 23,290 crore in 2013 to Rs 50,730 crore in 2023. However it is also a fact that since last 5 years, India barely made it to the top names of trouser exporters worldwide. Challenges like machinery advancements and cost-effectiveness have slowed down Indian exports in comparison to other competitive countries like China, Bangladesh and especially Vietnam. India being an intellectual society prefers working with precision and has a reputation for quality globally. However, this very quality also becomes a hurdle in being cost efficient merchandise for production of large quantity. Also other issues such as political unawareness and unfavourable Government policies as compared to other countries are slowing down in the export market growth.
With advancement in technology and access to desired high quality and innovative fabric the trouser industry can gain strength.