The global apparel and footwear market grew by 4% to $1.7trn in 2017, driven by strong performances in sportswear and childrenswear. These categories are expected to be key growth drivers through to 2022, as will the ability for brands to deliver personalised products at scale as millennials bore of homogenised fast fashion.
In its latest figures, market research provider Euromonitor, shows that while the overall apparel and footwear market grew by 4% in 2017, sportswear grew by 6.8% to reach global sales of just over $300bn and childrenswear grew by 6.2% to reach almost $170bn. At 3.7%, menswear growth continues to outpace womenswear (3.3%) but, at $420bn vs $643bn for women, it remains a much smaller market.
As well as the strong growth from sportswear and footwear, fast fashion has been driving global growth in fashion in recent years but Euromonitor International senior analyst Kseniia Galenytska said brands and retailers need to consider the fact that millennials are increasingly resisting homogenised fashion and are seeking more individuality.
“With the ability to instantly adopt catwalk fashion and provide trend-led clothing for an affordable price, fast fashion retailers have been among the bigger value gainers in the last few years. The success of fast fashion has been near universal, thanks to efficient supply chains and economies of scale that have allowed fast fashion brands to market design-led offerings at very low price points. One of the most successful fast fashion brands over 2012-2017 in absolute value growth terms was H&M, which grew by $4.8bn according to Euromonitor International provisional estimates as it expanded aggressively beyond its core market in Western Europe.
“However, as fast fashion becomes widely available, it is erasing identity and true personal style is becoming obsolete. Millennials are becoming disillusioned and eager to recapture their own personal style, seeking unique and individually tailored products that reflect their own values rather than following a homogeneous style. Brands in the fashion industry are already offering personalised products to consumers and are currently looking for ways to deliver personalised solutions quickly and on a larger scale,” Galenytska said.
Internet retailing currently accounts for around 16% of all global apparel and footwear sales, up from 10% in 2012, and is expected to hit 20% in 2021. However the importance of online shopping goes beyond how an order is placed; online is an increasingly important research and communication channel. According to Euromonitor International’s Lifestyle survey from 2016, 43% of consumers surveyed in 20 major countries around the world stated they researched and compared apparel products online, compared to 48% in store.
“Personalisation will remain a key trend within the fashion industry for years to come. However, brands really need to work hard to bring personalised products into the mainstream by reaching the scale, speed of production and delivery that fast fashion retailers provide. With adidas selling personalised sweaters through its ‘Knit for you’ pop up store [in Berlin] for $215 however, brands still need to reduce the production costs to achieve true disruption,” Galenytska concluded.