McKinsey said that the vast nation’s apparel market was forecast to be worth $59.3 billion in 2022, making it the sixth-largest in the world.
However, India is notorious for its price-sensitive consumers, while ethnic wear still infuses much of local fashion, particularly among women.
Uniqlo is attempting to address the second point by including for the Indian market a “Kurta collection” created in collaboration with an Indian designer.
But on price, Uniqlo so far appears to be selling its clothing at similar levels as in the United States and Australia, and more expensive than in Malaysia.
One signature item, a women’s ultra-light down vest for women, retails at 3,490 rupees ($49.10) compared to $49.90 in the US and 149.90 ringgit ($35.80) in Malaysia.
“India is a highly competitive market, and a lot of global brands are already here, along with many successful home-grown brands,” Edelweiss Securities analyst Abneesh Roy told The Print news website.
“Uniqlo is definitely entering late, and it will not be easy.”
On Friday around 500 shoppers of a mix of ages queued up to enter the new store when it opened, with Yanai there to welcome them.