The market for fitness and sports apparel is expected to cross $50 billion worldwide between 2018 and 2023, accelerating at a CAGR of more than 5 per cent, according to a Technavio report. The sportswear market in India grew from Rs 24,000 crore in 2014 to Rs 37,000 crore in 2016, according to a Euromonitor report.
The athleisure market is dominated by global majors like Puma, Adidas, Nike — each sell apparel worth billions of dollars every year. So, how does Azani plan to set itself apart in the crowded space?
The founder says that most of the big brands are focused on a specific segment — running shoes account for as high as 95 per cent of their sales. Azani intends to offer products that are tailor-made to meet the unique demands of a particular sport as the gear that is suitable for running might not be suitable for playing squash or lifting weights in a gym.
Further, the company differentiates itself by attending to the needs of individual customers. If a sportsperson flags a deficiency or has a suggestion, the product might be immediately taken back to the drawing board to work out a solution. These successive iterations are meant to improve the product along the way.
To maintain the novelty of customising a product multiple times could be a challenging task as the company plans to scale up in terms of categories and take its fare to mainstream e-commerce platforms where products have a fast off-the-shelves pace.
At present, Azani makes sports apparel only for men. It is planning to launch gear for women and kids in the next few months. Suchde says a retailer from J&K contacted him for supplies recently.