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Cotton gaining back lost ground in global apparel market

Cotton has been competing with primarily with synthetic fibers and in the past several years, cotton has been become much more expensive than other fibers. In Q1 of 2011, cotton accounted for more than 60 per cent of the market in women’s apparel. Today, it accounts for just about 40 per cent of the.

But there has been a turn in the market. Cotton prices are becoming competitive with synthetic fibers. And retailers, brands, manufacturers are looking at cotton with renewed interest. Cotton Incorporated is helping cotton regain its market share.

Women’s apparel accounts for about 60 per cent of the clothing market while men’s makes up around 30 per cent. Cotton didn’t lose quite as much market share in men’s apparel and there has actually been a little increase in this space in the last four or five quarters.

The cotton industry is trying to sell into a consumer market that is much more demanding than it was a few years ago. This time the fight is complicated by new trends in products such as active wear and terms like sustainability. As a result, performance has become a major theme in the apparel market. One of the areas Cotton Incorporated has been working on is how cotton can compete with synthetics in the performance market.

As a part of the initiative, Cotton Incorporated has developed a number of new technologies such as Storm Cotton, a waterproofing technology; TransDry, a moisture transfer technology; Wicking Windows, another moisture transfer feature; and Tough Cotton, which is an abrasion resistance technology.