Sportswear racked up global sales of US$300.15bn last year

Sportswear racked up global sales of US$300.15bn last year

Sportswear and childrenswear saw the biggest gains in global sales in 2017 – and are set to remain key growth drivers through to 2022, according to new research.

The findings, released by market research company Euromonitor International, also show the retail sales of world apparel and footwear sales in 2017 rose by 4% to US$1.696 trillion.

Within this, the biggest category is womenswear, with global sales of US$642.76bn; followed by menswear (US$419.34bn) and footwear (US$351.86bn). 

However, sportswear and childrenswear – with global sales of US$300.15bn and US$159.95bn respectively in 2017 – booked the fastest year-on-year growth.

For sportswear, the market size rose 6.8% between 2016 and 2017, closely followed by childrenswear at 6.2%. This compares with womenswear (3.3%), menswear (3.7%) and footwear (4.7%).

"With the ability to instantly adopt catwalk fashion and provide trend-led clothing for an affordable price, fast fashion retailers have been among the bigger value gainers in the last few years"

"With the ability to instantly adopt catwalk fashion and provide trend-led clothing for an affordable price, fast fashion retailers have been among the bigger value gainers in the last few years," notes Kseniia Galenytska, senior analyst at Euromonitor International.

"The success of fast fashion has been near universal, thanks to efficient supply chains and economies of scale that have allowed fast fashion brands to market design-led offerings at very low price points.

"One of the most successful fast fashion brands over 2012-2017 in absolute value growth terms was H&M, which grew by US$4.8bn according to Euromonitor International provisional estimates as it expanded aggressively beyond its core market in Western Europe.

"However, as fast fashion becomes widely available, it is erasing identity and true personal style is becoming obsolete. Millennials are becoming disillusioned and eager to recapture their own personal style, seeking unique and individually tailored products that reflect their own values rather than following a homogeneous style.

"Brands in the fashion industry are already offering personalised products to consumers and are currently looking for ways to deliver personalised solutions quickly and on a larger scale."

The research also shows internet retailing accounted for 16% of global apparel and footwear sales in 2017, a 10% growth from 2012. Globally, internet retailing is forecast to account for 20% of apparel and footwear sales in 2021.

Online convenience

The convenience of shopping from home, advances in secure payments, flexible returns policies and rapidly improving delivery options will continue to sustain growth in internet retailing.

Particularly in China and most developed markets, the digital evolution will be one of the most influential channels shaping local apparel and footwear markets.

However, the importance of internet retailing goes beyond that of simply shopping online: it is also an important research and communication channel.

According to Euromonitor International's Lifestyle survey from 2016, 43% of consumers surveyed in 20 major countries around the world stated they researched and compared apparel products online, compared to 48% in store. As such, online engagement and communication with consumers plays an important role in forming companies' brand strategies. Social media channels present themselves as an opportunity to market brands and easily communicate with its consumers.

"Personalisation will remain a key trend within the fashion industry for years to come," Galenytska continues.

"However, brands really need to work hard to bring personalised products into the mainstream by reaching the scale, speed of production and delivery that fast fashion retailers provide. With Adidas selling personalised sweaters through its 'Knit for you' pop-up store for US$215 however, brands still need to reduce the production costs to achieve true disruption."