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US demand for apparel set to rise

US demand for apparel is forecast to rise 1.7 per cent annually through 2023. The ongoing population expansion will drive gains, and increase personal income, driving spending on luxury, environmentally friendly, and name-brand items. An ongoing athleisure trend will boost demand for higher priced apparel made from performance materials. Growing raw material costs and the threat of tariffs on clothing from China will force apparel manufacturers to lower margins or raise prices.

However, the mature market for clothing and intensifying competition from a variety of retail channels will limit volume growth and price increases. In addition, more consumers are purchasing apparel (especially athletic apparel) wearable for a variety of activities in diverse social contexts, such as fitness centers, workplaces, and restaurants, reducing the number of garments needed throughout the day.

US apparel prices are going up. From the raw materials and inputs that go into fibers and fabrics to the cost of labor and logistics, increased costs are leading to price hikes. Already, footwear and apparel are some of the most highly taxed products in the US, reaching as high as 37.5 per cent. The impact could challenge consumer spending in an already tough retail market. Retail apparel prices increased 1.1 per cent in June, the first gain in four months.