Scouting new opportunities abroad due to saturation in the domestic market and increasing store rental costs, Turkish brands have accelerated their search for alternative markets, including India.
In line with this, a delegation consisting of a number of Turkish brands participated in a trade fair in the country ogranized jointly by the United Brands Association (BMD) and Istanbul Apparel and Apparel Exporters' Association (İHKİB) from Sept. 19-20.
As a result of the tour, it was reported that the brands returned to Turkey with very positive impressions. BMD Chairman Sinan Öncel said brands such as Zara, H&M and GAP had already established their place in the Indian market, stating that the Turkish brands should also take a position in the country's market as soon as possible. On the other hand, İHKİB Vice Chairman Volkan Atik pointed out that half of India's population of 1.3 billion is under the age of 30, saying they will evaluate this potentially huge market.
Öncel, who evaluated the tour that was organized by Alkaş Consultancy, said that India is a large market. Indicating that the country was a very distant thought in the minds of Turkish brands, Öncel said India stood out as one of the leading countries arousing curiosity in surveys they conducted among their members as part of their international expansion activities.
A number of leading Turkish brands such as AVVA, Colin's, Collezione, Damat Tween, Dufi, Kiğlı, Mavi, Network, Tuğba and Twigy attended the tour, which was supported by the Economy Ministry, Öncel said.
Öncel aslo underscored that they had around 300 meetings with India's major investors, including Landmark, Major Brands, Future Retail and Reliance.
"There are 460 shopping centers in India. The rents of stores in shopping malls, which have became social areas just like in Turkey, are being paid with the local currency the rupee instead of the dollar and euro. We have observed that this huge market with a population of 1.3 billion has entered the radar of western retail brands in the last few years. All of the western brands we know like H&M, Zara, Massimo Dutti, GAP, Banana Republic have started to open stores in India in the last six to seven years," said Öncel, adding: "For example, Zara entered the Indian market in 2010 and currently has 20 large stores. H&M, which opened its first store in 2015, has reached 21 stores."
"The aggressive growth strategy of these two brands in India has affected us very much. We did not expect to see so many western brands in India before we went there. India is not easy for us but it is not difficult either. For awhile now, our two major garment brands were conducting research in India. It will not be a surprise for us to see Turkish brands join the global competition in this huge market in the near future," the businessman declared.
Attending the event in Mumbai, İHKİB Vice Chairman Volka Atik noted that half of Indian population is below 30 and added that the young population has potential for the future.
Drawing attention to the expanding Indian middle class, Atik said BMD and İHKİB decided to cooperate to ramp up Turkey's exports of branded goods. Highligting the event's success, he emphasized that the event surpassed the expectations of retailers.
Noting that the world's second most populated country will transform into a significant consumer society within the next 30 years, Atik said the Indian market is too important to neglect as the country is within a distnce of a six to seven hour flight. Therefore, he said, Turkish retailers must stay focused on the Indian market, which offers great opportunities.