US apparel executives believe China will still be the first choice sourcing destination over the next two years, but they expect the country's lead to narrow, a new survey has found.

The report 'Los Angeles Fashion Industry Profile', commissioned by CIT Group, surveyed more than 50 LA apparel executives from a mix of manufacturers and licensors. 

When asked what countries apparel and textile producers will source from in 2016 and 2017, China leads the field (37%), followed by Vietnam (15%) and India. Beyond 2017, executives see China's lead shrinking, but remaining dominant, with 29 responses. 

LA's West Coast location and strong port infrastructure facilitates the supply of imports from all of these markets, the report noted. Additionally, its savvy use of social media, and state-of-the-art manufacturing platform have positioned the Los Angeles region as "a leading global fashion epicentre".

LA companies are capturing around US$18bn in revenues through its fashion industry, with nearly $7bn flowing to local workers, according to CIT Group. And social media is seen as the marketing innovation that will have the greatest impact on its fashion industry going forward.

When asked what they saw as the most innovative technology for the future of the apparel industry, 54% of the executives said social media, nearly one in four (24%) said integrated systems between manufacturers and retailers, and 13% said either 3D fitting or 3D printing. And, more than half said the internet represents the biggest growth opportunity for LA apparel companies. 

When asked which factors would negatively impact their businesses in 2016 and 2017, 47% of executives said the cost of doing business and 43% said retail consolidation.