Top Trends Shaping the Apparel and Footwear Industry

Apparel and footwear is the second-largest consumer goods industry globally. Despite its maturity and sheer size, the industry expects a positive outlook, thanks to strong growth in China and India. These two Asian powerhouses are expected to be top three markets, along with the U.S., by 2023.

Sustainability, digitalization, and personalization are the key trends shaping the world market for apparel and footwear today, with consumer demands shaping corporate strategies across the globe. Here’s a quick summary of these trends.

Sustainability claims are proliferating on the fashion agenda

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of the fashion industry as health and sustainable living is a more integral part of their personal lives.

After living in the era of fast-fashion, consumers are now re-evaluating their shopping habits and showing interest in adopting more sustainable practices. Euromonitor International’s Lifestyle survey revealed that 60% of consumers are worried about climate change, and 64% of consumers try to have a positive impact on the environment through everyday actions.

While consumers are becoming more environmentally-conscious, apparel and footwear companies are attempting to curb fashion’s environmental impact from various angles including material innovation, supply chain and reducing waste through resale and rentals.

Digitalization is penetrating and changing the retail landscape

Across the globe, consumers are increasingly shopping online. They cite free shipping and the best prices among the top reasons to shop online, indicating their view of the online channel as a value channel. They also laud the convenience and positive experience provided by the channel, as they are able to shop a variety of brands and place an order at anytime from anywhere.

Apparel and footwear brands and retailers have strengthened their e-commerce presence in recent years and prioritized omnichannel retail strategies.

Many start-ups are also entering the market through internet retailing. Some heavily advertise on social media platforms to attract digital-savvy consumers, while others utilize new shopping models such as subscription boxes to reinvent the shopping experience.

Picky consumers demand personalized solutions

With endless options, consumers, especially millennials, demand personalized products, experiences, and communications from brands and retailers. To earn their custom and eventually their loyalty, sellers must demonstrate they know their customers’ distinct needs and values.

Consumers’ desire to “experience more” is a global phenomenon and offers a great deal of opportunity for brands and retailers to engage and interact with consumers beyond the transaction.

Taking advantage of the digital transformation, retailers are increasingly utilizing big data and machine learning to collect and analyse customer data in order to better understand what products they want and what activities they will best respond to.

For case examples and further insights of these trends as well as an overview of market performance and prospects, take a look at World Market for Apparel and Footwear.