NEW DELHI: The market for western-style women's wear could grow by as much as 50% in India, representatives from the domestic clothing industry have suggested, and an increasing number of international brands are gearing up to meet demand.

Driven by rising disposable incomes, an increasing number of women joining the workplace plus wider cultural acceptance, especially among the younger demographic, has prompted industry insiders to predict that western women's apparel will grow considerably from its current 25% market share.

Jitendranath Patri, marketing head for Future Group's retail chains Central and Brand Factory, told Livemint that sales growth in western clothes for women is significantly ahead of the men's category and the market has great potential because the number of brands is still relatively small compared to the West.

"Women's western wear is growing much faster than menswear," agreed Kabir Lumba, managing director of Lifestyle International, which operates the large department stores owned by the Landmark Group, the international chain.

Manohar Samuel, president of marketing and business development at Birla Cellulose, estimated the women's western apparel market is growing at 30% a year, but demand could "surge" even further with the entry of international brands.

Probably with that in mind, the Van Heusen brand plans to build on the 40-50% year-on-year growth it has witnessed with its standalone clothing stores and will add ten more standalone women's clothing shops to its estate over the coming year.

"Through the formal wear portfolio we can leverage the higher price point premium apparel space," explained Vinay Bhopatkar, brand head at Van Heusen. "Acceptance of ready-to-wear is very huge, specifically formal wear," he added.

Other western brands looking to build on the momentum include Swedish brand H&M, which plans to invest Rs 700 crore in India, while US brand Forever 21 plans to double the number of its stores to at least 12 over the next year.

Data sourced from Livemint; additional content by Warc staff