The United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) has released the eighth annual Fashion Industry’s Benchmarking Study, a survey of executives from over 30 leading fashion brands, retailers, importers, and wholesalers, including some of the largest brands and retailers in the country.
Conducted in conjunction with Dr. Sheng Lu, Associate Professor in the University of Delaware Department of Fashion & Apparel Studies, the survey asked respondents about the business outlook, sourcing practices, utilization of Free Trade Agreements and preference programs, and views on trade policy.
This year, thanks to the increasing vaccinations and robust economic recovery from COVID-19 in the US and globally, respondents feel much more confident about the outlook for the US fashion industry, both in 2021 and the next five years. Around 60 percent of respondents expect a full recovery of their sourcing value or volume to the pre-COVID level by 2022. However, about 20 per cent still expect 2021 to be a very challenging year financially.
Another key finding is that in 2021 surging costs are top concerns for US fashion companies. Disruptions from COVID have driven up production and sourcing costs and causing shipping delays and supply chain disruptions. In response, U.S. fashion companies have employed strategies including strengthening relationships with key vendors, emphasizing sourcing agility and flexibility, and leveraging digital technologies.