Revenues in the global apparel manufacturing industry are forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 3.5%, to $476.8bn from 2008 to 2013, according to forecasts from market research firm IBIS World.

Over the same period, industry value added is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 3.7%, it says, to $219.4bn.

Its report on 'Global Apparel Manufacturing' points to steady population growth and rising GDP as the reasons for this steady growth in demand.

And it adds that while world growth will still be low with the after effects of the US credit and financial crisis slowing consumer spending around the world, demand for basic clothing is likely to remain fairly constant.

IBISWorld anticipates that more Chinese enterprises will focus on the setting up their own brand names and specialty stores in foreign markets.

As far as sourcing is concerned, leading supplier countries such as China and India will continue to increase their shares of world low-cost exports.

The success of other low-cost supplier countries will largely depend on their ability to develop an advantage in single product categories, the report says.

It also notes that manufacturing firms that are unable to compete with low-cost labour firms will also need to invest larger amounts of money into capital equipment to reduce the labor content of apparel items.

For example, US firms unable to compete with low labour costs will be forced to become more innovative in their production techniques and develop more efficient and productive equipment.