Apparel & Shoes

The apparel and shoes industry is vast, comprising many product categories, ranging from basic to luxury options. The market can be unpredictable and subject to changes in design, consumer demand, and shifting retail strategies. In recent years, there have also been changes in the dynamics of the clothing manufacturing industry, with many companies choosing to outsource production to cheaper locations across the world. As a result, countries such as China, Bangladesh, Turkey, India, and Cambodia, now rank as the leading exporters of clothing.

Despite the current global economic downturn, there has been increased demand in some segments of the apparel market. Specifically, the increased demand for leisure and sportswear throughout the pandemic has aided the industry. The market for second-hand apparel is also expanding, as consumers are becoming more conscious of their environmental footprint and making more sustainable purchases.

Revenue of the apparel market
1.5tr USD
Leading exporter of apparel
Top footwear-consuming region

Market size

Global sales set to grow by almost 75 percent by 2030
Retail sales of the global apparel and footwear market from 2017 to 2019, with a forecast for 2030 (in trillion U.S. dollars)
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In 2019, retail sales of apparel and footwear worldwide amounted to around 1.9 trillion U.S. dollars. By 2030, this figure is set to soar to approximately 3.3 trillion U.S. dollars.

Apparel and footwear can be broken down into sub-segments including menswear, womenswear, accessories, bags, and shoes. Within this breakdown there are numerous price categories and styles available to consumers.

Apparel market worldwide
Footwear market worldwide
Apparel market in India

Market segments

The sportswear market is forecast to see steady growth
Size of the activewear market worldwide from 2020 to 2026 (in billion U.S. dollars)
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The global sportswear market was worth approximately 168 billion U.S. dollars in 2018. This figure was forecast to grow by almost 50 percent by 2026 to an estimated 248 billion U.S. dollars. Similarly, the global athletic footwear market is expected to see strong growth, resulting in revenues close to 70 billion U.S. dollars by 2025. The general footwear market is comprised of shoes, sneakers, luxury footwear, athletic footwear, and sporting shoes.

Sporting goods industry in the U.S.
Sporting goods industry in the UK

Industry trends

Generation Z are most likely to buy secondhand apparel
Share of female consumers who bought secondhand apparel, footwear, or accessories worldwide as of 2020, by age*
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When looking at the share of women worldwide who bought secondhand apparel, footwear, or accessories, Generation Z (respondents aged 18 to 24) came out on top. Some 40 percent of this generational cohort stated that they had bought secondhand apparel, footwear, or accessories.

Millennials ranked in second place, with just under one third of respondents buying secondhand apparel. Gen X and Boomers lagged behind their younger counterparts with 20 percent purchasing used goods.

Apparel and footwear resale in the U.S.
Apparel and footwear consumer behavior in the U.S.
Second-hand retail in the UK

Industry leaders

Nike takes the top spot for the most valuable global apparel brand
Brand value of the leading 10 apparel brands worldwide in 2021 (in million U.S. dollars)
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With a brand value of almost 50 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, Nike was the most valuable clothing brand worldwide. Zara was the second most valuable clothing brand worldwide with a brand value of about 21.3 billion U.S. dollars that year.

Nike, Inc. is an American multinational corporation and the the world's largest supplier and manufacturer of athletic shoes, apparel, and other sports equipment. Nike is famous for its 'Swoosh' logo as well as its "Just Do It" slogan.

Inditex and the fashion industry in Spain

Regional overview

U.S. has the largest apparel market in the world
Revenue of the apparel market worldwide by country in 2019 (in million U.S. dollars)
Further details: Visit original statistic

In the United States, the total revenue of the apparel market reached almost 360 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. China followed in close second place, with revenues amounting to around 325 billion U.S. dollars. Third placed Japan brought in significantly less, with a total value of 82.5 billion U.S. dollars.

Within Asia, India was another key player in the market. In Europe, the top-performing countries in the apparel market included the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy.

Apparel market in the U.S.
Clothing & apparel market in Europe
Apparel market in the UK

Industry definition

The apparel industry is of great importance to the economy in terms of trade, employment, investment, and revenue all over the world. This industry has short product life cycles, vast product differentiation, and is characterized by rapid change in demand coupled with rather long and inflexible supply processes. Key suppliers in this industry are clothing manufacturers and wholesalers, with retailers able to source from both.

The most obvious segmentation within the clothing and apparel industry is between womenswear, menswear, and clothing produced for babies and children. The industry can be further broken down into more specialist sub-industries, including accessories, jewelry, watches, shoes, leather goods, and bags. Some of the most valuable apparel brands in world include Nike, Zara, Adidas, lululemon, and Uniqlo.

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