With over 721 overseas buyers from 667 companies and 593 buying agents from 412 companies visiting the 44th India International Garment Fair (IIGF), exporters were kept busy over the three-day event. While many of the buying agencies also made a presence, it was the direct buyers who actually placed orders. As always, despite being an autumn/winter fair, most exporters showcased summer collections, though it must be admitted that the number of participants focusing on winter collections has definitely gone up… Prices were a spotlight at the fair as buyers admitted that the higher FOBs were justified, but still they negotiated for lower prices.
Buyers’ Feedback – Prices Up from Last year
Buyers were by and large happy with the collections on display. “I am coming to India for the first time and am truly amazed at the range of collections, particularly in women’s wear,” said Robert L. Thurmond, Technical Design Manager, ASHRO Lifestyle, a US-based catalogue. “The exhibitors have a wide range which is suitable for buyers looking at low-priced fashion and also for those who want very high-end products with handwork and different unique techniques,” adds Gregoire Hittner, a buyer from Paris. The products that were most sought-after were skirts, unstructured harems, jumpsuits, tie&dye dresses/tops and stoles.
Though the FOBs were generally higher than last year, the buyers were not completely unhappy. “I am a regular visitor at IIGF and this time I have seen a rise of 10% in the prices being quoted by the exporter. Though, the prices are high in terms of what I had expected, but my main motive to come to India is the Indian style of clothing and the value addition that goes into the garment which is completely different and cannot be found all across the globe, so I will place orders despite the prices,” said Redouane, Sharad Impex S.L., Spain.
Most buyers felt that the rise in prices was justified. “I am looking for skirts, dresses and T-shirts with tie&dye and other printing techniques. Though the prices of the products this year are on a bit higher side, exhibitors have also tried to absorb the prices so that the buyer doesn’t get affected. Also, prices are not an issue for me as the techniques offered by Indian manufacturers have improved which excites me the most and I am planning to place orders,” said Maria D’Angelo, Lolap (Star of India), USA.
Some buyers felt that more than prices, it was the delivery commitments that were a concern. “The prices are on a little higher side mainly due to the rise in fabric price, which everyone is aware of. I am looking for dresses, skirts, tunics with large floral prints. The prices are not a problem, but delivery on time is surely a problem for us. If the exporters make delivery on time, the prices can be compromised upon,” said Bob Jasty, Parle Designs Inc, US.
Interestingly, exporters feel that the buyer comes to India with the mindset that he can negotiate on price. “Because we are flexible in our approach to buyers they always bargain on price,” avers Salil Puri, Manisha Exports. Comparison of prices with China is also inevitable though the buyers admit that the products manufactured in India are very different and more value-added than China.
“Indian exporters are not just competing among themselves but also with China. While, the production cost for most Indian exporters has gone up mostly due to rise in fabric prices, for me there has been a 25-30% rise in production cost primarily due to rise in labour cost,” said Vijay Singh, Owner & Designer, Shilpayan Décor. The company was extremely happy with the response that it received, having booked six orders at the fair besides a number of strong enquiries. Indeed exporters who had differential products received very good response.
Among the many exporters, there were a few who had a completely different product offering; two of them Braun Textile Processors, Ludhiana and Frontier Textiles, Kolkata were prominent. While Braun Textiles was showcasing seamless technology for inner wear, Frontier Textiles had offerings in workwear using technical textiles. Both these product categories are the future growth areas and received good response from the buyers, more so from buying agents. “We have set up a 52-machine factory in seamless with a capacity of 10,000 pieces per day near Ludhiana about one-and-a-half years ago and the response has been very good here too at the fair and the buyers are showing interest mostly for inner wear, said Rajat Goyal, Director Braun Textiles.
While a majority of exporters showcased summer collections, the buyers didn’t seem to mind much as many of them were looking for quick deliveries and very near to the season buying. Among the exporters who displayed a winter collection was Tushar Handworks. “There are two types of buyers – those looking for fashion in the current season and others who are planning in advance. We received many exporters who showed interest in the collection, however as the range was conceived before the rise in raw material cost, many buyers have asked for subtle changes in the merchandise to meet price points. What most buyers having 4-5 shops are looking for is fashion at $ 3-4, taking this clue we will work backwards for our next collection,” said Tushar, Director, Tushar Handworks.
Lalit Thukral, MD, Maharana of India said, “The quality of buyers that visited the fair this time was really good and while the regular visitors placed orders, new ones explored the options and even made commitments which we are hopeful will come through in due coarse of time.” While the regular participants use the IIGF platform to meet their regular buyers, even the first time participants received good enquiries. “It’s for the first time that we are participating at the IIGF and the response here has been good with strong enquiries and one order. We deal in fabrics like Crystal, Micro Polyester, Viscose, Linen, Vertex and are also planning to get into organic with bamboo fabric,” informed Deepak Loomba, Production Manager, Karma Exports.
It was a fulfilling three days for the participants and according to official figures business worth $ 9.67 million was transacted during the event. “Many of the buyers have stayed on after the event and I am sure that lots more business will spill over to exporters who did not participate. What is important is that the business is coming to India and 2010 has definitely started on a positive note,” concluded Pritam Goel, Convenor, IIGF.