IMPRESSIONS from a Cross-section

Sector Pulse
Magdalena Kondej
Magdalena Kondej
Global Head of Apparel Research
Euromonitor International

‘Apparel/fashion is beyond a need-based industry; mostly it is a desire/aspiration based market’

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Which are the most emerging markets and the most saturated markets in the apparel industry these days according to you? Can you cite examples of markets good for mass and niche apparel products?

Euromonitor's Apparel and Footwear database tracks consumer spending on fashion across 46 markets globally. It is a unique product facilitating strategic decision making process as the data for all countries is standardized and easily comparable. We are able to pinpoint most promising markets to grow sales or which fashion brands are developing most dynamically.

China, although it is already well penetrated by apparel brands, still constitutes a major opportunity. It will contribute around 50% of absolute global growth by 2018. But the focus has shifted from coastal regions, which are becoming more and more saturated to China's interior provinces and lower tier cities.
China aside, there is also a group of other emerging markets in Asia, notably the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, etc.

Basically apparel/fashion is beyond a need-based industry; mostly it is a desire/aspiration based market. On a basic level consumers do need clothes but all business strategies within fashion are based around how to make consumers want to purchase more and more clothes and purchase these extra items from this particular brand rather than another one. So it is beyond just relying on consumers to replace their clothing, it is about creating additional sales.

In this respect, although some markets can be considered saturated (or maybe mature would be a better phrase to use) - there is always scope to grow sales. For example US, a very mature market with one of the highest per capita spending globally. To give you some figures, an average American spends over US$1150 on apparel and footwear compared to US$220 for an average Chinese consumer. But despite this high per capita spending, the US market is still experiencing a healthy growth - 2.2% in 2013.

I think the more mature and sophisticated the market, the more opportunities there are for niche products. By niche products I mean brands that focus specifically on certain categories or consumer groups. For example maternity wear - in emerging markets, it is a very small category as mothers-to-be often do not have the disposable income to spend on themselves when expecting a baby. But in the developed markets of Western Europe or the US, it is a lucrative category.

- Mary Christine Joy

Published on: 08/10/2014

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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