The apparel industry has come a very long way. From manufacturing by hand and working with sturdy textiles, the once-small sector has grown into a global business worth trillions.
In 2022, the effects of the pandemic are still felt in supply chain disruptions and inconsistent demand. As you’ll learn in our overview of the most recent apparel industry statistics, the industry’s recovery is underway, but still not without its shake ups.
All of this left many wondering—what’s the pandemic’s effect on the industry, and how long will it take to recover? This in-depth look into the industry’s current state will answer these and many other questions about the shape of the apparel market in the UK and globally.
Top Apparel Industry Stats (Editor’s Choice)
- The global apparel market size reached $1.55 trillion (£1.14 billion) in 2021.
- China is the world’s largest clothing exporter.
- The global revenue of women’s apparel should reach £622.96 billion in 2022.
- UK’s national apparel market revenue will exceed £60.1 billion.
- In 2022, UK consumers will buy $44.19 billion worth of clothes and footwear online.
- UK’s plus-size apparel revenue is projected to reach £9.03 billions in 2022.
- The average price of an apparel piece in the UK will continue to rise by at least 2026.
Essential Retail Apparel Industry Statistics
As you’ll learn in this section, the clothing industry has been experiencing massive growth in recent decades—until COVID-19 hit the global economy, that is. Consequently, the apparel market experienced a 93% drop in profits in 2020. However, it bounced back in 2021, recovering almost to its 2019 size.
1. Clothes production has more than doubled in the last 20 years.
World apparel industry statistics show that the textile industry has seen an unprecedented rise since the turn of the century. Thanks to new technologies in apparel production, the industry’s output doubled between 2000 and 2014.
2. The global apparel market size reached $1.55 trillion (£1.14 billion) in 2021.
The market recovered in some regions in 2021 as the fashion industry partially adapted to the challenges of the pandemic. Still, supply chain issues that started in 2020 will continue to plague the industry in 2022, according to McKinsey’s report. For instance, Asos mentioned the possibility of these issues decreasing profit in 2022 by more than 40%.
3. The global fashion industry statistics for 2020 pointed to an annual revenue decline of up to 93%.
McKinsey’s report on the fashion industry’s future brings negative projections. It’s mainly because more and more new companies acting as “value destroyers”—those that don’t make enough in profits to support their growth—are coming up in the supply chain. At the same time, the demand is bound to go down due to the pandemic’s economic impact. Fashion statistics show that the global revenue almost returned to its 2019 size in 2021.
4. Nike has the highest value of all apparel brands.
The economic slowdown had a negative impact on apparel companies’ values. However, Nike is still leading the game, according to global apparel industry statistics.
Its value in 2021 was approximately £25.4 billion ($30.44 billion), down from £28.6 billion prior to the pandemic. Globally, Gucci is the second-ranked company with £11.47 billion in value, followed by Louis Vuitton (£10.9 billion), Adidas (£10.55 billion) and Chanel (£9.74 billion).
5. China is the world’s largest clothing exporter, apparel industry statistics show.
Based on the most recently published data, China is the largest apparel exporter worldwide.
It currently holds 43.5% of the global market, ahead of the second-placed European Union (including the UK) with 18.1%. The two export giants are followed by India (4.8%), Turkey (3.3%), and the US (3.2%).
6. According to fashion industry statistics from 2020, the global sales of apparel and footwear will exceed £2.4 trillion by 2030.
In 2019, 58% of mid-market fashion executives stated they expected the market to drop in 2020. Due to the pandemic-related economic slowdown, it turned out they were right.
However, the fashion industry’s previously established positive growth is highly likely to continue. Apparel industry stats suggest particular growth can be expected in the up-and-coming markets of Asia-Pacific and some European regions.
In 2019, the total value of apparel and footwear sales combined reached £1.4 trillion. Recent projections show that this revenue could increase by another trillion by the end of 2030.
7. The global revenue of women’s apparel could reach £622.96 billion in 2022.
One of the long-standing trends in the apparel industry is the dominance of women’s clothing over men’s. According to projections, women’s apparel will reach £622.96 million in revenue and continue to grow at a CAGR of 2.44% by 2026.
Men’s apparel will see a slightly more significant rise of 2.54%, but it won’t be anywhere near enough to catch up with the women’s apparel market.
UK Retail Industry Statistics
The UK traditionally holds a significant share of the global apparel market. The country is also home to some of the world’s best-known fast-fashion and luxury brands. This section will take a look at the UK apparel industry’s current state and future growth projections.
8. According to the UK fashion industry statistics, in 2022, the national apparel market revenue will exceed £60.1 billion.
In 2022, the average UK consumer will spend £878.52 on apparel. They will also increase their wardrobe by an average of 63 pieces of clothing. This is more than two times as many compared to the world’s average of 24.15 pieces.
9. Pre-pandemic apparel industry sales statistics show UK shoppers spent £59.3 billion on clothing in 2019.
For comparison, before the pandemic hit, UK shoppers had been spending more and more on apparel each year. The market generated £30.9 billion in revenue in 2005 and continued uninterrupted growth in subsequent years. In 2019 alone, it recorded a 5.9% rise, the biggest one since 2005.
10. Burberry is the most profitable of UK clothing retailers.
Burberry’s latest annual revenue exceeded £7.3 billion. Although people often associate massive revenue with fast fashion in the industry, Burberry shows this isn’t necessarily the case, as its clothing falls under the luxury bracket.
However, the rest of the highest-earning companies are predominantly fast-fashion brands. Next Plc leads the pack with £5.2 billion in revenue, followed by Marks & Spencer and ASOS, each with over £4.5 billion according to the latest annual reports.
11. The UK’s plus-size apparel revenue is projected to reach £9.03 billions in 2022.
One of the biggest retail apparel industry trends in recent years is the de-tabooing of plus-size apparel. Plus-size clothing used to be sold separately, and major brands were reluctant to include it in their product lines. However, most of these companies have realised that catering only to the general shopper is no longer financially sustainable.
The latest data on plus-size apparel shows that the market’s revenue was £6.44 billion in 2016, with a projected value of £9.03 in 2022—an impressive 40.3% increase.
12. In 2022, UK consumers will buy $44.19 billion worth of clothes and footwear online.
Fashion ecommerce in the UK is set to grow to an amazing $49.5 billion by 2025. When it comes to fashion ecommerce penetration, internet sales have been rising since 2011. Still, according to online apparel industry statistics, a record-high of 60% of UK shoppers bought clothes online in 2019.
13. 30% of young women in the UK believe a piece of clothing is “old” if they’ve worn it more than once.
(The Business of Fashion)
Apparel market statistics show that fashion is evolving faster than ever. Our purchasing habits and approach to clothes have changed drastically over the years. Thus, it’s no surprise that 1 in 7 young women would avoid being photographed in the same outfit twice.
14. The average price of an apparel piece in the UK has increased by £0.34 since 2013.
According to UK retail sector statistics, the average price per unit of clothing in 2013 was £16.85. But as the demand continued to increase, so did the prices. In 2021, the average price was £17.19. According to McKinsey, in 2022, 67% of fashion executives expect the prices to increase further. It almost makes you want to get clothes for free.
Apparel Industry Facts About Fast Fashion
Over the last two decades, fast fashion has become a large part of the apparel industry. Rapid production and the ever-growing demand made way for faster and cheaper apparel distribution. Let’s look at some fast fashion stats to examine the sector’s current state.
15. The fast fashion market’s value declined by 12.32% in 2020.
COVID-19 slowed down the fast fashion market’s decades-long growth. Due to the pandemic’s economic effects, the market went down by 12.32% in 2020, totalling $31.4 billion in revenue. But the outlook for 2022 and beyond is positive—experts say the fast fashion market should reach $38.2 billion by 2023.
16. According to apparel industry statistics, Inditex is Europe’s biggest fashion company.
Inditex’s world-famous brand, Zara, accounts for most of the company’s revenue as its flagship brand. Inditex and all its labels are fast-fashion brands. In other words, seasons mean little for their fashion products as they release up to 20 collections per year.
In 2019, the company’s revenue was £22.5 billion. In 2018, Inditex was also the largest fashion company based on the number of units sold—2.9 million.
17. Clothes manufacturing produces over 92 million tonnes of waste per year, apparel industry statistics show.
In 2019, over 100 most famous fashion brands signed the UN’s Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action. The goal is a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. But even if the initiative succeeds, the issue of leftover textile building up will still remain unsolved.
18. The largest UK-based fast-fashion company is Next Plc.
The latest info suggests Next Plc is the leading fast-fashion company with more than £5.7 billion in revenue. Marks & Spencer and ASOS follow with over £4.5 billion each.
Sports Apparel Industry Statistics
There are many specialised apparel markets, but sports apparel stands out for its versatility. People no longer wear sports clothing exclusively in sports-related settings—they wear it in their daily lives, too. Let’s examine the sports apparel industry’s current state.
19. Outdoor apparel industry trends suggest that the industry will reach $15.79 billion in 2022.
The outdoor apparel market is expected to grow steadily in the coming years. By 2026, the market promises to reach $19.6 billion.
20. According to sport apparel industry statistics, the market should grow at a CAGR of 4.11% by the end of 2025.
Like other specialised apparel markets, the sports clothing sector took a serious hit in 2020. However, based on mid-2020 data, experts predict a quick normalisation and continuation of the pre-pandemic growth.
21. Yoga pants are one of the biggest trends in the sports apparel industry.
Even before the pandemic, the athletic apparel industry realised people needed gym wear that’s also suitable for leisure, thus starting the trend of “athleisure”. These clothes include jogger pants, sports bras, hoodies, tank tops, and yoga pants.
It’s yoga pants that became the most popular among shoppers during the 2020 pandemic. The sales have risen by 42% as shoppers decided to ditch traditional yoga pants and look for more variety when it comes to colours, materials, and designs.
22. The US is the world’s largest sports apparel market.
Athletic apparel industry statistics show that the US market is leading the game worldwide. In 2020, the US held a 36% share of the global apparel market. Athletic wear is extremely popular among Americans—9 out of 10 report wearing it in situations other than exercising.
As for materials, the demand for polyester in athletic wear has been on the rise in recent years. However, the latest research shows that 60% of Americans still prefer cotton.
23. Eco-friendly athletic wear is among the big upcoming sports apparel industry trends.
Sustainable sportswear is becoming a big industry trend. Consumers are more and more environmentally conscious and want to buy recycled goods from companies investing in and boasting about sustainable production. Sportswear branding trends suggest just that—apparel branded as “recycled” was up by 642% for menswear and 388% for women.
Global and UK Apparel Industry Trends: In Conclusion
There are numerous aspects to our everyday relationship with fashion and clothing.
From the technological marvels of supply and demand chain management to actual sales, the apparel industry is unlikely to regress anytime soon. It’s one of the rare industries to have experienced such steady and uniform growth across the world.
Although recent apparel retail industry statistics point to a slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the market is slowly recovering and reaching its pre-pandemic levels.
What are the most popular clothing brands in the UK?
The UK is home to some of the world’s most popular clothing and fashion brands. Although many brands are UK-only and don’t operate internationally, it certainly doesn’t mean they’re less famous. According to a 2021 survey, the most popular is Clarks, as chosen by 70% of respondents. It’s followed by Levi’s (68%), Nike (66%), and Adidas (63%).
How much is the apparel industry worth?
The global apparel industry size reached £1.14 trillion ($1.55 trillion) in 2021. By 2025, the apparel industry is projected to reach £1.66 trillion ($2.25 trillion).
Is the apparel industry growing?
Yes, it’s safe to say that the apparel industry is growing. Since the beginning of the 21st century, it has been one of the industries with the most consistent positive growth. The rise was very much fueled by technological advantages in production and online retail sales.
Despite the adverse impact of the pandemic, industry experts predict that the market will soon adapt and normalise. They’re forecasting positive growth of 5.5% by 2026.
How large is the clothing industry?
Geographically speaking, the apparel market knows no boundaries and is, in that sense, a truly global industry. As for the market value, apparel was worth £1.14 trillion ($1.55 trillion) in 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic slowed down its growth, but experts believe the industry should soon recover and continue its path of growth. Current projections say that the market will reach the value of £1.66 trillion by 2025.
How profitable is the clothing industry?
The clothing industry is a highly profitable global business with decades-long growth. It’s hard to imagine anything that could seriously damage the apparel industry. Yes, the global pandemic slowed down its progress, as indicated by recent apparel industry statistics.
But the industry is on its way to recovery. The proof of its profitability is best visible in the rising prices of clothes due to increased demand. For example, the average price of an item of clothing in the UK has risen by £2.66 since 2012.