Even as a few sectors continue to reel under the COVID pressures, across the world, apparel retail, is booming. Figures show, 2022 was particularly a good year for fashion retail as it managed to navigate through all challenges, be it the Omicron scare or the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
As per an Apparel Resources report, the growth in global fashion retail was led by the US, whose retail sales revenues grew by 36.37 per cent to $264.05 billion in 2021 over 2020. This growth continues in 2022 with sales in the country growing by 13.76 per cent to $81 billion during the January-April’22 period. Clothing imports by the country also grew by 40.55 per cent Y-o-Y to $32.43 billion, show statistics from OTEXA.
Most of the clothing imports by the US during 2021 and the first four months 2022 have been from India and Bangladesh. In 2021, the share of US’ clothing imports from Bangladesh and India increased by 36.71 per cent and 38.74 per cent to $7.15 billion and $4.19 billion respectively. In the first four months of2022, this further increased by 65 per cent and 56 per cent to $3.30 billion and $2.10 billion respectively.
Pent-up demand, revenge buying fuelling growth
Growth has been stimulated by factors including a pent-up demand, wage growth, revenge buying and reopening of the economy across the US and the UK. Introduction of new fashion styles by retailers is also fuelling growth, believe experts. The top five most sold garments in the US during 2021 included T-shirts, trousers, jackets and blazers, undergarments and denim apparels.
The scenario in the UK is similar to the US with apparel retail sales growing 15 per cent to £38.10 billion in 2021. UK’s clothing imports too declined by 9.50 per cent to £20.80 billion during the year. UK’s clothing imports surged 39 per cent on Y-o-Y basis in January to February ’22 to £ 3.70 billion, whereas store sales grew by 58 per cent to £12.50 billion in the first two months of 2022, as per the latest data available on Office of National Statistics, UK. Figures from Eurostat also show, EU’s apparel imports increased by 5.60 per cent to €72.30 billion in 2021 after a massive slump recorded in 2020. Imports from Bangladesh grew by 20 per cent to €14.30 billion.
From January-March 2022, EU’s apparel imports grew by 30 per cent to €21.70 billion compared to the corresponding period last year. Imports from Bangladesh and India grew to €4.77 billion and €1.10 billion worth of apparels during Q1 ’22, respectively.
Apparel retail sales and imports by the third largest apparel market in the world – Japan- fluctuated from 2019-2021. In 2021, Japan’s apparel imports declined 1 per cent to $23.80 billion. In the first three months of 2022, these imports further dropped by 0.7 per cent to $5.90 billion.
However, despite this decline, the apparel retail market in Japan is slated to grow at a CAGR of 4.13 per cent till 2026. Apparel sales in chain stores associated with the Japan Chain Stores Association (JCSA) grew by 7.30 per cent Y-o-Y to $518.57 million in April’22. Most of the growth was reported in menswear with women’s wear and kid’s wear also staying positive.
However, experts are skeptical about sustaining this growth in coming months. As recent reports suggest, US retailer Target has canceled orders of home textiles and apparel from suppliers besides cutting prices to clear unsold inventory. Notwithstanding these occasional hindrances, the overall outlook for the industry appears bright.
By Fashionating World