The footwear and apparel industry grew in value by 5% in 2015, according to research by Euromonitor International. But below the top line figures lie some interesting trends, which show an industry in transition: both in terms of geography and the biggest selling items.
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1. Eastern promise
Growth in the Eastern markets, from Africa and the Middle East through India to China, continues to outstrip that seen in the traditional powerhouses of the US and Europe. The Middle East and Africa is set to be the most dynamic region for apparel and footwear from now until 2020, with value sales reaching $134bn (£95.3bn).
India is embracing sportswear, sales of which grew by 24% in the country last year. The market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 12% up until 2020.
China’s slowing growth may be causing a headache for luxury brands, but the country is still expected to contribute absolute value growth of $77bn (£54.7bn) between 2015 and 2020.
2. Southern Star
Australia is the king of the westernised markets in terms of value growth. Western Europe struggled in 2015, with apparel and footwear showing negligible growth. The economic woes of Greece, where the industry contracted by 7%, and Italy (down 2%) continue to harm the continent’s overall growth figures. In contrast Australia saw value sales increase by a healthy 3% across the same period.
3. No growing pains for kidswear
Kidswear currently accounts for just 12% of the total global footwear and apparel market. But we may soon see that figure increase if current trends continue. It grew by 6% in 2015, compared to 4% for the rest of the industry.
The global kidswear industry is now valued at $151bn (£107.3bn).
4. Best foot forward
Footwear has posted higher growth figures than clothing for a decade now. And 2015 was no exception, with footwear sales up 6% to clothing’s 4%.
Sportswear, boosted by its new-found popularity in the Indian market, also enjoyed a good year. It grew by 7% across the 12-month period.
5. Women still on top but menswear following suit
Women’s clothing and footwear is still a significantly larger market than its male equivalent. It accounts for almost half (48%) of the total market, compared to just 31% for men.
But menswear is once again growing at a faster rate after a 2014 lull saw the women start to pull away even further. It’s still close though. Womenswear grew by just under 4% while menswear was slightly above the 4% mark.
“It seems menswear is undergoing a fashion makeover. With a greater focus on fashion, brands such as H&M and Zara continue to benefit from the millennial male consumer seeking to expand his wardrobe beyond the basics,” said Euromonitor apparel and footwear analyst Bernadette Kissane.
*Source: Apparel and Footwear in 2016: Trends, Developments and Prospects, Euromonitor International