The apparel market encompasses every kind of clothing, from sportswear to businesswear, from value clothing to statement luxury pieces. After the market recovered in 2021 from the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, high inflation in 2022 posed more difficulties for the global apparel industry. The cost of production rose, and consumer confidence fell.
The revenue of the global apparel market was calculated to amount to 1.53 trillion U.S. dollars in 2022, a slight decrease on the previous year. However, revenue was forecast to increase in 2023, to more than 1.7 trillion dollars. The countries that account for the majority of this apparel demand are the United States and China, both generating substantially higher revenues than any other country. It is perhaps no surprise that the same two countries play a significant role in international trade. In 2021, China led the rankings for the highest value of apparel exports. The U.S. was second only to the EU in the value of apparel imports.
The revenue generated from the women’s apparel market is much higher than those of men’s or children’s apparel. In the U.S. alone, women’s apparel generated approximately 163 billion dollars in revenue. That’s more than the U.S. men’s and children’s markets combined.
There are numerous divisions within the apparel industry, many of which overlap. One of the most notable is the second-hand apparel industry, which is forecast to grow as the consumer demand for more environmentally conscious apparel options increases. The luxury market is also a key market in the apparel industry; it is projected to more than double in size from 2022 to 2028.
The apparel market is dominated by the biggest companies. Nike is a standout performer, generally placing in the top spots for selected financial metrics. For example, Nike had the highest brand value of any mass apparel brand in 2022, at roughly 110 billion dollars. Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is another company that consistently placed highly. LVMH had a market capitalization of 317 billion dollars in September 2022.
OVS was ranked as one of the most transparent fashion companies, in a 2022 study which evaluated how much information companies disclose about their suppliers, supply chain policies and practices, and social and environmental impact. The study shows that a lot of the world’s largest companies have a long way to go when it comes to revealing how ethically they run their operations.
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Research expert covering apparel industry and general merchandise