Nykaa’s blockbuster market debut, MyGlamm’s unicorn run, and the success of Amazon and Flipkart — is just the tip of the iceberg for the online fashion, beauty, and personal care (BPC) market in India.

The growth in discretionary retail is thanks to India’s younger cohorts. Gen Zs (aged 10-24 years) and millennials (25-39 years) have not only driven fashion and BPC sales, but trends too. Their exposure to influencers, K-beauty, clinical skincare, graphic prints, and a ‘body positivity-first’ approach has spurred product innovation in this space like never before.

And so, it’s only a matter of time before their discretionary inclinations leave an indelible mark on Indian retail– we’re talking a near-doubling of the country’s retail industry in just five years:

Here are our other findings:

1. India is home to the world’s largest population of Gen Zs and millennials, who also are the biggest consumers of fashion and beauty, and personal care (BPC)

Gen Z (10-24 years) & millennials (25-39 years), together, make up 51% of the population in the world’s largest democracy. That’s 708 million people. A major portion of the growth in the BPC and fashion markets has been led by the large digitally mature GenZ and millennial population. These consumers aspire to express their individuality through the in-trend BPC & fashion products and are financially & digitally capable of buying these products on a regular basis.

2. Online penetration in India’s BPC market is just 8%, but the potential is immense

A nascent online BPC market + the largest young population = a hotbed of potential. Gen Z and millennial-fuelled surges in discretionary spending have increased online penetration in India’s BPC market, from just 2% in 2016 to 8% in 2020…

…even so, online sales in India’s BPC segment are negligible compared to those in China and the U.S.. As it stands today, the country’s BPC market is $16 billion, compared to $80 billion in China and $90 billion in the U.S. Online penetration in those markets are <40% and <25%, respectively.

3. Online fashion for the win

E-commerce penetration in India’s fashion market is currently higher than that in the BPC market. The sector has witnessed a threefold increase in online penetration, up from just 4% in 2016 to 12% in 2020:

However, China and the U.S. are far ahead of India in online fashion. both have upto 40% penetration in the $300 – 400bn market.

From here, the only way to go is upwards; an increase in internet coverage and digital maturity, coupled with the large young population will spur growth in the online BPC and fashion categories in the future years.


  • Rohan Agarwal has been a part of the Redseer Strategy Consultants journey for over six years. He is an expert in digital strategy for traditional corporates and start-ups.