Despite subdued consumer confidence in Western Europe, excessive discounting impeding profits and the slowdown in China, the global apparel and footwear industry generated incremental retail growth of US$85 billion in 2013, a growth rate of 5% (current terms, fixed exchange rates). However, the industry’s growth has become heavily dependent on the BRICs, which poses a risk going forward.
BRIC countries generated over a quarter of the world’s apparel and footwear sales and are expected to account for over 64% of projected global sales over the next 5 years. This carries risk because of the vulnerability of the economy in Brazil and Russia and the slowing economic growth in China. While the emerging markets are throwing invaluable lifelines to the apparel industry at a time of sluggish Western demand, diluting dependency on that growth will be a challenge.