Levi's Evolution: From Denim Icon to Diverse Lifestyle Brand

Levi's Evolution: From Denim Icon to Diverse Lifestyle Brand
The brand plans to expand its product offerings across footwear and accessories.

By Vaishnavi gupta , Sr Correspondent

18 Sep 2023 | 8 min read

The Indian apparel industry is dynamic and driven by diverse consumer preferences. In 2022, it reached a market size of $172.3 billion, with projections indicating robust growth. The market is expected to soar to $387.3 billion by 2028, driven by a CAGR of 14.59 percent during 2023-2028. The surge in online shopping, coupled with evolving consumer demands for fashionable yet functional products, is propelling this growth.

The denim segment, in particular, has witnessed substantial growth in recent years. In India, the denim market is projected to grow at an impressive CAGR of 15.7 percent from 2021 to 2026, reflecting the changing preferences of consumers who are willing to invest in quality brands. This trend is evident not only in major cities but also in smaller towns. Over the years, Levi's has fortified its position as a category leader in India's denim and lifestyle apparel market.

“Over the last 14 years, we have witnessed remarkable growth in India. We have innovated continuously, introducing products that cater to emerging trends and consumer needs. We are now on a mission to establish ourselves as a one-stop apparel brand, expanding into footwear and accessories to offer a complete head-to-toe look,” said Hiren Gor, General Manager, South Asia at Levi Strauss & Co.

Retail Footprint

Currently, Levi's operates over 400 retail locations across more than 150 Indian cities, including mainline and outlet stores. The brand is committed to expanding its footprint, with recent store openings in key cities like Delhi, Kolkata, and Bengaluru.

“We're continuously growing and expanding our retail presence to bring our brand closer to customers. Geographic diversification is a key component of our growth strategy. Currently, our focus is to be present in key cities and prime locations across India, aligning with the pulse of our discerning consumers,” stated Gor.

Levi's Evolution: From Denim Icon to Diverse Lifestyle Brand

Direct Focus

The brand is actively pursuing a direct-to-consumer (DTC) strategy, aiming to create an integrated omnichannel shopping experience. As digital is on a high growth trajectory in India, it has launched Levi’s website as part of its continued efforts to support its digital transformation efforts and deliver a more DTC-focused omnichannel experience.

“In India, online sales constitute approximately 30 percent of revenues, while offline channels account for the remaining 70 percent,” he asserted.

Expanding Product Categories

Levi's is not just about denim. While denim remains at the core, the brand is committed to offering customers a wide range of choices to appeal to diverse tastes and preferences. From a product perspective, the brand has already launched Levi’s Gold Tab which includes sportier pieces like tank tops, joggers, and leggings.  Apart from seasonal collections, it also has collaborations such as the one that taps into the demands of consumers for trends such as casualization for which it introduced baggier, more comfortable, and casual denims.

The brand plans to expand its product offerings across footwear and accessories. “We are also investing in new product categories like athleisure, and constantly innovating to stay ahead of emerging trends,” noted Gor.

Levi's Evolution: From Denim Icon to Diverse Lifestyle Brand

Marketing Innovation

In the fast-evolving fashion landscape, Levi's continues to engage consumers through various touchpoints, both online and offline. Collaborations with influencers like Deepika Padukone, partnerships with brands like Super Mario and Royal Enfield, and music initiatives have helped the brand remain connected to younger consumers. The brand also emphasizes sustainability through initiatives like the "Buy Better, Wear Longer" campaign.

Growth and Future Prospects

Levi’s delivered a strong year in 2022, crossing $6 billion in revenue globally and achieving significant market share growth. The brand grew 11 percent and increased global market share more than any other denim brand for the second year in a row, led by share gains in both men’s and women’s.

Continuing the momentum, in Q1 FY2023, strong demand for the Levi’s brand in Asia continued, with revenues accelerating to 22 percent growth, driven by all channels and markets outside China, led by India. India continued to see double-digit growth (+30 percent). In line with the growth in Q1, in Q2 FY2023, it witnessed a surge in the demand for its products, and the sales in Asia increased by 18 percent.

“In H2 2023, we aim to invest more in Asia, towards growing markets like India, as we see significant opportunities for growth and would like to capture these opportunities. This includes expanding our product portfolio, focusing on our e-commerce platform, and investing in technology and innovation to enhance the customer experience,” he concluded.

The Indian apparel industry is dynamic and driven by diverse consumer preferences. In 2022, it reached a market size of $172.3 billion, with projections indicating robust growth. The market is expected to soar to $387.3 billion by 2028, driven by a CAGR of 14.59 percent during 2023-2028. The surge in online shopping, coupled with evolving consumer demands for fashionable yet functional products, is propelling this growth.

The denim segment, in particular, has witnessed substantial growth in recent years. In India, the denim market is projected to grow at an impressive CAGR of 15.7 percent from 2021 to 2026, reflecting the changing preferences of consumers who are willing to invest in quality brands. This trend is evident not only in major cities but also in smaller towns. Over the years, Levi's has fortified its position as a category leader in India's denim and lifestyle apparel market.

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