India's flea markets - once boasting of a huge clientele - may soon find themselves out of business, with the rising demand for brands among the youth across the country.
According to a survey conducted by industry body ASSOCHAM, brand-conscious urban teenagers, belonging to the upper middle-class segment, have been found to spend an average of Rs4,000-Rs5,000 every month to upgrade their wardrobes.
About 40% of youth that were a part of this survey from cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai said they spent up to Rs4,000 a month on buying branded clothes, while 35% spent Rs5,000 on the same.
"There is a lot of pressure on children to look good. Being able to say in a social gathering that they wear only branded clothes and carry high-end accessories is reflective of your social status. But as a parent, it burns a hole in the pocket," said Arti Chawla, whose 15-year-old daughter is part of this 'in' crowd.
The survey, with a sample base of 2,000 children, found that approximately one-fourth of the respondents said that they spent about Rs2,500 every month to buy new clothes so that they could stay ahead among their peers. A majority of youngsters also admitted that they looked up to their favourite movie stars, models and sportsmen for latest fashion ideas.
"Whether denims, shoes or regular T-shirts, I don't usually like wearing anything other than top brands because when I'm with my friends, I prefer to look good. As far accessories like my bag or water bottle are concerned, I prefer shopping for them from among top sports brands," said Ishani Khanna (name changed), a class 10 student of DPS, Mathura Road.
ASSOCHAM, however, claimed that the rise in consumption of branded goods was related directly to the person's individuality. "Today, teens exhibit a strong desire for individuality in their self-expression and end up spending a major chunk of their allowance on clothes. Fashion-conscious teens, be it girls or boys, are becoming more concerned about their appearance and are taking what they wear more seriously than ever before," Assocham secretary general DS Rawat said.