Only emerging retail markets have boosted jeans sales in recent years

Only emerging retail markets have boosted jeans sales in recent years

The global market for jeans has been slowed up by financial turmoil in recent years, while a combination of rising raw material prices and a shift of demand to new markets could bring sales to a standstill in coming years, according to latest research by just-style.

Worldwide jeans sales are predicted to show zero unit growth this year, finds the just-style report 'Global market review of the denim and jeanswear industries – forecasts to 2017'.

The slump is attributed to rising prices, which are being pushed up by higher raw material costs, in particular cotton. And it follows three years of reduced growth for the global jeans market, prompted by the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008.

"The world jeans market has been thrown into disarray by the financial crisis. It will actually decline in dollar value by -1.57% between 2004 and 2010," the report says.

Emerging markets pocket profit
However, the research also finds that overall unit growth will outstrip dollar growth in the period between 2004 and 2017, as jeans sales shift away from the developed markets of North America, Europe and Japan/Korea to emerging ones like India, China and Russia.

Sales of jeans in China are expected to be worth US$864m by 2013, growth of 36% over the 2009 figure of $634m. The Indian sub-continent, meanwhile, will be worth $1bn by the same point - up 38% - while the Russian jeans market will grow 11% by 2013, the market review estimates.

When it comes to manufacturing, just-style's report also finds that worker unrest and demands for better pay and conditions in low cost countries is creating further upwards pressure on prices.

Jeans production is moving continuously to the low-cost developing world, while denim brands continue to proliferate at the top end of the market, because distribution remains fragmented.

just-style's denim report is split into two volumes this year - 'Jeans and denim market facts and forecasts, 2005-2017' and 'Jeans and denim trends, 2010-2017' - with the second volume looking at fabrics, manufacturing trends, brands and retailing.

"The jeans market suffered from the global financial crisis of autumn 2008. It is now experiencing severe cotton price increases caused by supply shortages. These factors have combined to make the value of the world market in 2009 more than US$1bn lower than it was in 2004," the report says.

Click here for more details of just-style's 'Global market review of the denim and jeanswear industries – forecasts to 2017'.