What lies ahead for the fashion markets?

25 July 2019

Despite a significant fall in consumption over the last ten years in the fashion and textile market, a new model is taking shape and has inspired new purchase behaviour. The French Fashion Institute (IFM) provides an overview and outlook for the markets, between ‘de-consumption’ and the dynamic of emerging markets.


Taking stock
Thanks to its IFM Panel, a tool which offers monthly turnover reporting from a panel of retailers representing all different channels, the IFM has noted a decline in market value of around 15% over the last ten years. This is due to reduced spending power and rising prices which are forcing French consumers to spend less on intimates. Though dynamic, e-commerce cannot compensate for the decline in brick-and-mortar sales. What’s the answer? Omni-channel retail seems essential for boosting sales. Especially as the position of brand labels has weakened with regard to the market dynamic since 2015, with retailers reporting a 3.6% decrease in turnover. Specialist retail chains suffered an even sharper decline (5.1%). The lingerie and hosiery market shrank by 3.7% in 2018. A difficult year for consumption, as was the case in most market segments.

Regardless of income, 44% of consumers bought less clothing in 2018. This can be described as generalized ‘de-consumption’, although the trend can be broken down into two groups. Reduced consumption was forced upon the majority of consumers due to budget limitations in line with the overall trend. However, it was a conscious decision for 40% of consumers (selective de-consumption) influenced by new purchasing behaviour, such as environmental concerns, a desire to de-clutter existing clothing and other purchasing choices. What about tomorrow’s de-consumption? The second-hand market is one of the most buoyant with an increase from 15% of consumers in 2010 to 31% in 2018. Moreover, only 8% of brands have prioritized sustainable development within their 2019 strategy, despite the fact that supply of responsible fashion in the apparel market is not yet meeting demand. Online consumption continues to rationalize purchase behaviour but remains less spontaneous than brick-and-mortar sales.

Emerging markets: towards a new dynamic
In France, brands do seem increasingly sensitive to the ethics of fabric production and use with regard to environmental protection. This is also the case for international legislation, including the ban on producing cotton buds and scientific criticism of various dyestuffs. Why not introduce a number of clear restrictions in the textile sector? Consumers seem confused by the increasing number of quality labels which have a long way to go before being fully understood by the public.

Emerging markets are a key growth area. With the market feeling rather unsettled in European countries, professionals are keen to mobilize international business. The European Union is still the number one market, with a higher population than the USA. China’s high consumption potential, far higher growth rate and rising middle class will make it the world’s top market by 2030.


Podcast Gildas Minvielle and Thomas Delattre – Director of the Economic Observatory and Research Project Manager for IFM
« Overview and outlook for the fashion markets: towards a new model »





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