Staff Writer – Archi

A wind of liberation seems to be catching up with the women in India. In the five days leading to the launch of the iconic lingerie brand, Wonderbra, in India on August 8, its 100 per cent pre-launch stock was sold out.

A look at the e-tailer’s data on the geographical location of those who booked orders threw more of an interesting light on the change of the trend.

Besides the expected top 10 big cities of India, there were customers from smaller centres like Jamshedpur, Bhopal, Mathura, Belgaum, Sholapur, Amritsar, Kanpur, Allahabad and Chitradurga.

The alacrity with which Wonderbra — globally regarded as something that makes women feel sexy — has been received here says a lot about Indian women.

They are changing, and no longer seem to be squeamish about their inner wear, keeping it at the bottom of their shopping list or buying it only when regular pairs come apart or choosing only from black, white or ‘skin’ colour.

Of course, women in metropolitan India had begun their indulgence a while back but now the desire to feel sexy and shop for it uninhibited has made deeper inroads.

A leading fashion photographer best known for having shot an enviable number of sexy women in swimwear for calendars, said “The Indian woman today is confident of her looks, her abilities at work and her body. She works out and is self-assured.”

The lingerie market in the country is thus set for a revolution, given the Indian woman’s desire to experiment with this intimate piece of clothing. The most important development that has taken place over the past few years is that lingerie has begun to be connected with body positivity by Indian women.

Bra is no longer just an everyday garment. Women now pick up lingerie for different occasions — a strapless bra is used on a different occasion from a minimiser bra, and so is the case with maternity bra. It’s not pricing but the requirement that is dictating lingerie shopping today.

According to an estimate the lingerie market is growing at the CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 14% and is worth approx. Rs 8,700 crore.

Branded lingerie market in India is divided into four segments — economy, mid, premium and super-premium of which 52% is the share of mid and premium segments. These two segments are also expected to grow the fastest at 22% CAGR over the next five years.

Deconstructed, these figures mean that the average Indian woman, even if tucked away in Tier II and Tier III cities, has begun crossing the threshold from the days of dowdy underwear to glamorous lingerie —the change in the nomenclature says it all.

Indian women seem to be getting bolder and are more interested in buying sexy lingerie right now.