Expect a Surprise with H&M and Sabyasachi Collaboration

29 Feb 2020  Read 890 Views

H&M will be selling Sarees in its stores from this April. What prompted H&M to do this and what’s the plan? Read and find out in today’s article

There’s a very famous English saying ‘When In Rome, Do as the Romans Do’. This is not just an adage as it has also become a ‘Marketing Mantra’ these days. In marketing terms this is known as localization. Remember McDonald’s offering ‘Aloo Tikki’ burger and ‘Maharaja Mac’?

How about US President Donald Trump’s recent visit to India? Mr. Trump started his speech with ‘Namuste’ (and not Namaste) and mentioned about numerous Indians who achieved something great in their field (Like Swami Viveka-Mu-Nanda in Trump’s words).

Following this ‘Indianization’ streak, a well-known global clothing firm H&M (Hennes & Mauritz) will be selling Sarees in its stores in India from mid April, 2020. ‘What?’ if that’s the question that first came to your mind when you read this, you are not the only one thinking so. Imagining a section of Sarees in an H&M store is difficult but that’s how it is.

Tie-up With Sabyasachi

The celebrity Indian ethnic fashion designer who also runs his luxurious women’s ethnic wear brand, Sabyasachi Mukherjee is the one who is collaborating with H&M for their new project. Now, if you’ve already started imagining beautiful sarees worn by actresses at important occasions in an aisle of H&M store, please stop, because H&M India CEO’s statement is contrary to your imagination.

Janne Einola, H&M’s India CEO has said that the idea is to surprise the consumers and that the company would evaluate the response it gets and based on that it would decide how it fits the future. We definitely agree with the ‘Surprise’ part because, if that wasn’t the case we wouldn’t have written this entire newsletter on this topic.

Mending Ways

India being a very attractive market for the world, is persuading international companies to adapt to Indian ways of consumption and hence offer ‘localized’ products. H&M is taking it seriously and hence is coming up with a unique offering of ethnic product. By the way, this is the first ever instance where the global clothing firm (2nd largest in the world) is launching an ethnic product.

However, there’s a catch too. With Sabyasachi you would only think of flashy, exorbitantly priced ethnic wear but, H&M has clearly stated that their positioning of offering mass products would remain as it is. This means that Sarees that would available at H&M stores would be mass priced. Now, what kind of Sarees would be availablw at H&M? We do not have an idea.

What’s the Motivation?

Is this a logically backed decision or an emotional decision? This is the first thing that we thought of. Then we came across a report published in Economic Times which said that the single biggest category in Indian women’s wear is ethnic wear which accounts for over 70% of the segment. Furthermore, Saree controls more than 30% of the market with a market size of Rs. 39,350 crores.

And, after reading this, H&M’s decision to sell Sarees made more sense to us. But, business is not just about numbers and analysis. Customer sentiment matters the most in business and will H&M be able to attract that? We’ll have to wait and watch.

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About the Author: Ratan Deep Singh | 145 Post(s)

Ratan is a Biotechnology graduate and a former print-media Journalist, who specialized in marketing to take up Brand Communication. He’s a grammar Nazi & big-time foodie who appreciates creativity and often tries his hand in creative poetic writing.

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