Reuters has published an in depth analysis on India’s booming online apparel market. While most homegrown websites list products from foreign brands that are yet to enter India, they do not have the permission to do so, the study finds.
India’s online retail boom has come on the back of two product categories: apparels and gadgets. While most consumer electronics and technology brands are available in India, there are many apparel brands that haven’t entered the country. Some examples being famous names like Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle.
Yet, most of these labels can be spotted on many people, particularly the youth. While not available in stores, these clothes can be ordered online, and often come with discounted prices. Reuters interviewed the brands, and Abercrombie and American Eagle were emphatic that Indian websites do not have the permission to sell their products.
Sites like Myntra.com, Homeshop18, yebhi.com and others have become extremely popular. However, many online shopping sites now do not show any results when searchwords like ‘Abercrombie’ or ‘American Eagle’ are entered. Reuters said that after they questioned some of these websites, they removed these products from their sales catalogues.
Myntra.com issued a statement saying that they do not retail brands like Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle and Aeropostale. "We would also like to highlight that one of the key promises of Myntra.com is that we retail 100% original products approved by the brands. We retail over 350 national and international brands which we procure either directly from the brands themselves or through brand authorized channels," said Mr Ganesh Subramaniam, chief merchandising officer, Myntra.com.
Where did these products come from then? Some lots came via middle East and Asia. These channels would pick up products off-season from USA or dump the unsold stock here. Also, there are many local manufacturers who make these branded apparels and supply them to the companies. Some lots may have been diverted for the purpose of online retailing.
Experts have said that these websites will be blacklisted as soon as these brands enter India. When these brands start selling in India, they will take strict measures to ensure that there is minimum inventory leakage; and that their products are sold through only registered franchisees and distributors.
However, some executives of these brands also agree that there is a positive side to this. The consumers get exposed to these brands, and hence, when such a brand enters India officially, customers would respond enthusiastically.