Global Apparel and Footwear Market Update—2014

According to the latest estimates from the Euromonitor International, the global apparel and footwear market grew by 5% in value terms in 2013 and will further increase by an incremental US$58 billion to 2018.  Several highlighted findings:

  • China will account for 50% of absolute growth over 2013-2018. It will overtake the US to become the world’s largest apparel and footwear market in 2017.
  • The Middle East and Africa region has also become a new frontier for growth. The region’s apparel and footwear sales are set to rise by US$17.9 billion over 2013-2018.
  • Outlook for the developed markets are mixed. The United States is forecast to be the second largest contributor to global value growth of apparel & footwear sales after China over 2013-2018, ahead of the other BRIC markets. The German market is forecast to contract by US$2.2 billion over 2013-2018. Market growth in Japan will remain static.  
  • Menswear mania continues to grip the global fashion arena. The category grew by 4.8% in 2013, marginally outperforming womenswear’s 4.5%. The trend was evident in major markets including the US, the UK and Germany.
  • The womenswear category was valued at US$684 billion in 2013, accounting for 48% of total global apparel sales. The category is set to expand by a further US$91.8 billion to 2018, with 58% of this increase coming from China alone. International labels Uniqlo, Gap and H&M were the most dynamic womenswear brands in China in 2013.
  • While still a quarter the size of the apparel market, value growth of footwear outpaced that of apparel in 2013, registering a 6.1% yearly gain compared to apparel’s 4.8%.

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Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

29 thoughts on “Global Apparel and Footwear Market Update—2014”

  1. I think this article is extremely relevant to today in the retail industry. As we can see, the footwear market is growing by the second and is only expected to grow even further. In 2013, the footwear industry grew 5.1%. Globally, I think we can only benefit by watching China (#1 in footwear right now) and closely following their moves if not teaming up with them to create a type of outsourcing collaboration.

  2. The retail industry is growing, and so is the footwear industry. There are so many different kinds of shoes that you can purchase today, and more designers are making footwear lines because of its huge demand. China is the number one maker for footwear, which accounts for billions of dollars in sales. This could be because of the labor costs and the costs for materials, which is cheaper in China then the United States, as well as their ability for very fast mass production. I found the Footwear vs. Apparel graph interesting as it shows that Footwear is over powering the apparel industry by a little over 1% year on year growth. On a global scale, women’s wear and menswear is at a higher percentage, but footwear is not too far behind. I agree with Mackenzie that maybe if the United States is to partner up with China (with more footwear) then we can make more products and sell more products, even more then what we have been selling and producing. We can use some of their footwear ideas and incorporate them into the U.S companies.

  3. Producing and selling globally is something that will continue to happen in our industry forever. Looking at the graph, it shows how much the footwear value in China is growing from 2008-2013 compared to their apparel which was interesting and seemed shockingly high. Agreeing with Mackenzie it would be beneficial for the United States and China to work together bringing their strong inputs as one. It stated that in 2017 China will overtake the US and become the worlds largest apparel and footwear market this may have a different outcome if they worked more as a collaboration with each other

  4. the retail industry is growing and will continue to grow in the future, and china is accounted for a majority of that growth. One thing that surprised me is menswear is growing faster than womenswear, in Germany womenswear less than 1%. while apparel are growing at a steady speed, footwear is growing faster. The world is purchasing more as economy of their countries gets better and people cares about their appearances, another reason is goods are cheaper because China has lower material and labor costs. I agree with Mackenzie, if US team up with China it will help US’ economy tremendously.

    1. there will also be great opportunities for those talents who both know the industry practice in the US fashion industry and well understand the market conditions in China–and of course be bilingual

  5. I believe China will be the world’s largest apparel and footwear market in 2017 because their technology is expanding and their students are getting the right resources and learning experiences to provide them with the skills to make efficient products. Their labor costs must have decreased also, providing them with a huge increase in exports. The Middle East and African regions are becoming the new frontier for growth because their labor costs are very cheap and afforable for other countries. The United States are the second largest conrtibutor to the global value growth because Americans love to shop and buy things. Our culture is shoping and fashion. Men are becoming more of a valued customer and that is making the menswear numbers increase. Nowadays more men are buying their clothes because they are becoming more interested in the fashion industry.

  6. This article was very interesting to read. I believe that we should be following in China’s footsteps in regards to their remarkable footwear production. Finding out that China will be the number one country for apparel and footwear production in 2017 also made me think that the U.S. should pair up with them. I think it was cool seeing the graphs and understanding the future of the footwear and apparel industry for different countries. I was definitely a little shocked to see that menswear outperforms womenswear throughout the world. However, I do think this is an exciting statistic and it will definitely open more doors in mens fashion. Fashion has definitely become a major part of our culture and will continue to increase economic growth globally. Overall, I enjoyed this article and it helped me realize more about what the industry is like in regards to other countries and what to expect for the future of this business I am going to be in!

  7. I thought this was a very interesting article to read, and I agree with some of the posts above mine. China has really great footwear production, so if we were to follow in their footsteps I believe it’ll only help us. Since they are going to be the number one country in apparel and footwear, following in their footsteps would be a good idea. This article helped me learn more about the industry, other countries, and what they do to get their success.

  8. It wasn’t a big surprise to see that China is in the lead for clothing production. I was however surprised to see that Africa is becoming “a new frontier” for growth. I rarely hear talk of Africa when it comes to the apparel industry. However I think their growth will benefit not only their economy but the global economy as well. Seeing that the Middle East and Africa are growing as contenders in the fashion industry reinforces the fact that globalization is having a huge impact on the world.

    I was also surprised to see that footwear growth is more resilient than clothing. I would think that clothing would be more resilient since people generally buy more clothing than shoes.

    1. glad to learn you learn something new. Africa is a rising star nowadays—it is large, poor and having sufficient cheap labor. It is argued that Africa is the only area in the world that has the potential to replace China in apparel manufacturing & exports. keep close watch on Africa as well as the discussion on AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act).

  9. It makes sense that China will be the number one in apparel and footwear. China is a power house when it comes to manufacturing. This article is very relevant to the time now. However with the United State’s apparel/footwear industry on the decline I think it may be time for the US to consider some sort of collaboration with China.

  10. I think that it makes sense that China will be the top leader in footwear. They are such a strong force in the textile and apparel industry and with their ability to produce goods efficiently and at low costs, it is not a surprise that they are the leaders. Like others who commented, I think it is interesting that menswear is growing faster than womenswear. I think this is due tot he fact that men are becoming more aware of fashion and are starting to participate in fast fashion now more than ever.

  11. Along with most of my peers, I did not find it surprising that China was leading in the textile industry and expected to become number one in the footwear industry as well. What did surprise me was the expected growth in both textile and footwear industries in the middle east and african region. I found it interesting because China became the power house it is now because of its rapid growth in the textile and apparel industry (because of its manufacturing, production). I wonder if the middle east and africa will share some of the same successes China did in terms of exporting apparel and footwear that is created within the country.

  12. I think that this article is interesting and a real eye-opener. I believe that China most definitely will be the leader in the footwear industry considering they are already the leader in the textile and apparel industry do to their very successful manufacturing. I think that since China is becoming the leader in pretty much all things fashion, the United States’ best bet would be to work alongside China or collaborate in some way in order for our industry to stay afloat.

  13. China is becoming the world’s largest apparel and footwear market because while they are still a big part of production, they are beginning to become a part of the realms of the fashion industry outside of production. New Chinese designers and brands have been on the rise. They now possess the technology, capital, and education to start businesses that they could not before. China’s consumer market is so large, there is not reason for it not to become a major sucess. Just like a US citizen is more inclined to buy something labeled “Made in USA”, a Chinese citizen will probably do the same for their country.

  14. China as we all know is responsible for most our imports, so I wasn’t really surprised to see it as a front runner in the apparel and footwear industry. What I was extremely surprised was too see Africa not that far behind China. I think the US should take on examples and too find out pointers on how China is so successful.

  15. It impresses me that China will be surpassing the “US to become the worlds largest apparel and footwear market in 2017” and that Japan’s growth will remain static. I would have expected Japan to have some growth. It is not surprising to me, however, that there will be significant growth in both the African and Middle Eastern markets. I would expect that in the future, as free trade agreements continue, that eventually the markets which do not get a lot of attention (Middle East and Africa) will become players in the global textile market. I also thought it was interesting that there was a larger increase in footwear (6.1%) than there was in apparel (4.8%).

  16. After reading this article and reviewing the graphs and charts I am very surprised to see that Africa is becoming a larger base for growth. I feel as though when we discuss production of T&A we mention the same countries over and over and Africa is never one of them.However, It was less surprising to see that China is still one of the leading producers. I think Africa being more involved can only benefit their growth and seeing that other continents are following suit can only indicate that globalization is finally starting to impact the world in more ways than one. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that the analytics were proving footwear to be more resilient than apparel in the chart above. I am a shoe fanatic and always wondered what the difference in reliance was between footwear and apparel. This was interesting for me personally to see, and answered many of my questions.

  17. I think that these graphs were very interesting in terms of visually laying out the trends that are currently going on. I think the growth percentages in menswear and footwear were very interesting in terms of the traditional idea of womens ready to wear driving the industry. The growth of consumerism in China is astounding and shows just how much of an impact the growing consumer class in China is having on the t&a market.

  18. I find it an interesting statistic that the menswear industry is growing faster than the womenswear industry. I think that a big reason for this may be that the womenswear industry may not have many more places to go, while menswear has much room for growth and development. Another interesting fact mentioned in the post is that H&M was one of the most dynamic womenswear brands in China. Though H&M is a popular brand here, I feel like they have a larger customer base in European and Asian countries. I know that when I was in Italy, almost everyone was wearing something from H&M at any given time. The product lines are also much more extensive overseas, where I feel as though here in America they stick to much more basic, classic styles.

  19. It really is no surprise to me that China is expected to be the largest contributor of apparel and footwear sales in 2013-2018, followed by the U.S. China has a very strong market that continues to thrive throughout the years. With cheap production and labor costs, it is obvious that China is able to create a very high revenue within their markets.
    I am also not surprised by the graph that shows the average unit price of U.S. apparel and footwear decreasing from 2008 to 2013. I believe this decrease is because of the competition between the U.S. and China. In order for the U.S. to lead in sales before China, they must lower there prices, just as China has done.
    I think it is great that the Middle East and Africa region has become a new frontier for growth. This opens up even more opportunities for new trade.
    I think China and the U.S. will remain the top contributors for some time to come in regards to apparel and footwear sales.

  20. This article not only tracks the growth of the apparel and footwear market but also the shift in manufacturing. In the last 20 years the countries that consumed the most were not the same as the ones producing the most. But today, China’s economy has experienced exponential growth a and a growing middle class has accounted for the increase in consumerism in China. The growth results that China exhibits give hope to the economies of developing countries that they to can break free from the poverty that has kept them in the dark so long.

  21. It does not surprise me that shoes are becoming more and more popular. There is such a variety in shoes today and I am not surprised that women have the have a very high demand in this area. In terms of globalization, I think it would be smart for the USA to partner up with China. I think this because clearly this market has a high demand so to partner with China it could only grow. In my opinion, there would be more and more shoes bought and sold because of this. China is on the rise and the USA should go up with them! As far as Africa goes, I am happy for them as well. I truly believe if we root for these countries it will help us in the long run. To see that Africa is doing well in terms of apparel manufacturing and exports is great to see.

  22. This article is very insightful and yet not surprising with all the statistics. It is not surprising that the apparel and footwear markets are increasing. The economy is getting better, which means these kinds of businesses are getting better as well. Menswear is in fact increasing and the facts show that they outperform womenswear. This is because now and days men are starting to care with how they look. There are more male models and more advertisements towards the apparel for men. China is a strong and powerful country and by 2018 it will overtake the US, this is not surprising because people want to create partnerships with them. They are the country everyone wants because they work fast and produce products with low labor costs, US needs to keep up with them because they are some competition for us.

  23. It’s definitely interesting to see that other countries are growing and expanding. Such countries as China are at the head of the race with expansion as they have been for a while now. With the rate that they are expanding, many countries may find it hard to keep up. Being an extremely high populated country, it is inevitable for them to be the highest apparel and footwear market in the future. Not only do they produce for their country, but they produce for many others including the US.

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