Not only has the market size for mannequins increased but also their look has undergone a significant change. Indian retailers now prefer tall, chic and western model mannequins instead of the more realistic, plump (read fat) with features of an average Indian person. The retailers are now demanding figurines with western bodies and abstract oval shaped faces or even headless variety. The standard sizes of the mannequin on display has also changed to 5 feet 10 inch height with 34-24-36 vital stats for a female mannequin and 6 feet with 38-32-38 measurements for a male. The mannequin industry is growing at 30 to 40% per annum and current market size is estimated to be US$ 10 million while most manufacturers are located around New Delhi and Bangalore makes over 1,000 different designs of mannequins compared to the standard 10-15 standard designs a decade ago.
Till about a few years back, retailers wanted mannequins that were more realistic, had a body (read fat) and features of an average Indian, with wigs and simple poses, painted eyebrows, lips, and absurd wigs. The trend has changed in favor of the ones with western bodies and abstract oval shaped faces without features or even headless, yet striking.
"No standards were followed earlier in terms of body measurements," says Sanjay Gupta, a mannequins manufacturer. He used to get orders of all shapes and sizes (odd at times), but now they have standards like 5 feet 10 inch height with 34-24-36 vital stats for a female dummy and 6 feet with 38-32-38 measurements for a male.
"In the past I have sold even 5-feet tall and full-bodied mannequins, but there are no takers now," says Gupta, who supplies over 500 pieces a month to over 20 brands, including Arrow, Levis, Gant, Reebok, Kazo, H&A
The Indian retailer has realized the importance of a mannequin in improving sales. According to retailer Allen Solly “ that garments displayed on mannequins sell 43 percent faster, the number of mannequins in Benetton stores has doubled in about five years.” The retailer like Zara has popularised the use of a mannequin with abstract face and western model size which is copied by many Indian retailers. However, like citizen of India, the mannequin has also faced wrath of government bureaucracy when in mid 2013 Mumbai City imposed an infamous ban on mannequin display.
The mannequin market will see a robust growth in coming years even after government ban or slow down that the retail industry is currently facing. These silent salesperson are here to stay and increase their presence.