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China, India among top global apparel markets

Global apparel sales are forecasted to rise by $156 billion from 2016 to 2019. Only six countries will account for two-thirds of the forecast global growth -- China, the US, India, the UK, Russia and Mexico. Apparel retail sales in China are expected to rise by an impressive $60 billion over the forecast period. While China’s six megacities with over 10 million people account only for 7.2 per cent of country’s population, they will account for 19 per cent of the total growth of consumer expenditure on clothing and footwear.

India’s growth outlook is also promising. However, India is less urbanised compared to China and accessing significant share of the Indian apparel market would require coverage of a larger number of Indian cities. The six most rapidly growing cities in terms of consumer expenditure on clothing and footwear are: Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Hyderabad. However, all of them combined will account for only 10 per cent of total forecast growth of consumer expenditure in India. To capture one-fifth of the growth of apparel sales, investors would need to carry out activities in at least 40 major Indian cities. Mexico and Russia are two other promising markets for apparel retailers. They rank among the fastest emerging markets for apparel.