Fashion Retailers Experiment with Mobile Retail in India

July 2021

Since the pandemic, distribution channels have suffered due to the intermittent lockdowns, barring physical stores from operating. This has resulted in retailers facing a tough challenge to make their offerings available to consumers. To overcome this challenge and meet demand, retailers are experimenting with mobile retail formats such as pop-up stores and shop on wheels.

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Key Findings

Obesity and overweight are reaching pandemic proportions worldwide

Overweight and obesity - especially among children - have surged over the last decade, driven by over-consumption of high-calorie processed foods, and reduced physical activity. BMIs are highest in Qatar, Kuwait and the US in 2019. Governments are responding to the obesity crisis by implementing public health campaigns, sugar taxes, clearer food labelling and restrictions on the advertising of junk food. Yet, by 2030 it is expected that 28% of the world’s population will be overweight and 17% of these, obese.

North America and Gulf markets are key hot spots for plus-size fashion prospects

Significantly higher than average disposable income, obesity and overweight prevalence and per capita expenditure on fashion levels overlay in North America and in some of the more affluent markets in the Gulf region (eg Qatar, Kuwait and UAE). Despite maturity, these markets hold great potential over the forecast period for plus-size fashion given the strong appeal for trend-led (and high-end) fashion and the relatively underdeveloped plus-size retail offering available.

Plus-size road to mainstream is gaining momentum but luxury players still lag behind

Over the last couple of years, several high-profile retailers (especially in the US) have expanded their offerings and adapted their retail operations to better cater for plus-size consumers. Either launching new private label lines (EVRI by Kohl’s), via partnerships (adidas x Universal Standard) or through acquisitions (Eloquii by Walmart) size-inclusive initiatives are booming with the notable exception of luxury powerhouses, who still remain fairly dismissive in comparison.

The shift from plus to inclusive size requires better thought out strategies

After several marketing backlashes, fashion companies are gradually fine-tuning their approach to plus-size marketing, gradually moving towards body-positive and empowering territory. Despite the controversy around the role of fashion to tackle obesity, growing availability, visibility and normalisation should be further encouraged.

Introduction

Scope
Key findings

Drivers for Mobile Retail

The pandemic impaired mobility resulting in restricted lifestyles
Fashion retailers limit store presence to conserve cash
In-store shopping holds its own amongst consumers
Access to internet and ownership of credit cards still low

Target Audience

Parents are key consumers as children outgrow sizes creating demand
Older generation due to limited mobility would be key prospects

Examples

Players opened mobile stores to offer in-store experience
Steps taken by retailers to offer mobile retail experience
Case study: Bata’s hyperlocal model
Case study: Levi’s focuses on fulfilling demand for comfort wear
Case study: Pepe Jeans launches “PepeMeUp” initiative
Case study: Max Fashion organises weekend shopping events

Key takeaways

With COVID-19 existing in 2021, mobile retail has a lot to offer
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