Apparel and Footwear in 2016: Trends, Developments and Prospects
The global apparel and footwear market continues to provide steady growth despite weakening performances in Brazil and Russia and softer growth in China. A sustained recovery in Western Europe remains elusive, while the Middle East and Africa further illustrates its strong growth potential providing a significant boost to global apparel and footwear sales. This report explores the most prominent trends from a geographic standpoint as well as key drivers within the global market.
Resilient global growth despite economic headwinds
The global apparel and footwear market delivered another year of strong growth in 2015, increasing by 5% despite weakness in key markets, such as China, Russia and Brazil.
China’s growth slowing but Asia Pacific remains number one opportunity
For the first time, China’s year-on-year growth fell behind the rest of Asia Pacific. Despite a slowdown in the Chinese economy, Asia Pacific will retain its leading position as the largest apparel and footwear region with dynamic growth stemming from emerging markets such as India, Vietnam and Indonesia, providing potentially lucrative opportunities for international brands.
US remains leading market
The US continues to provide robust growth benefiting from a solid post-recession recovery. The slowdown in China has enabled the US to remain the world’s leading market to 2018, highlighting its strategic importance within the global industry.
Outlook for Western Europe showing tentative signs of improvement
Western Europe experienced negligible growth again in 2015, however, with the exception of Greece and Italy, there are signs of a turnaround as momentum builds in markets such as Turkey, Norway and Spain. As performance within the region varies, future growth appears fragile.
Proliferation of sportswear and comfort dressing continues
Wellness lifestyle trends, combined with dynamic growth of performance and sports-inspired apparel and footwear has led to an inexorable shift towards comfort dressing on a day-to-day basis. Noticeably, sports footwear continues to drive growth as consumers demand functionality and comfort in their everyday shoes.
Childrenswear dominates growth in apparel
Growth in childrenswear surpasses both men and womenswear in 2015 for the third consecutive year, driven by fashion’s infiltration into the category alongside favourable demographics and aspirational consumption in emerging markets.