The United States accounts for 36% of the world’s total retail clothing industry. With sales expected to reach over $1.3 trillion in this year alone, American women drive a majority of the world’s retail clothing sales.
Retail Clothing Industry Facts and Trends
Department stores account for nearly $400 billion of the total revenues in this industry.
The transition that has occurred within this industry is that retail stores have begun to transition toward more of a singular branding identity. Rather than be like a big box retailer that offers several brands or designers, the modern retail clothing store brings just one brand in-house, typically their own brand. This is true for both typical physical storefronts and for e-commerce platforms.
Essential Facts About the Retail Clothing Industry
1. Only 20 companies operate department stores within the United States, but have 3,500 total stores that generate $60 billion in revenues annually.
2. Fewer than 10 companies generate 95% of the sales in the retail clothing industry.
3. The Russian clothing market accounts for just $35 billion of the global total and Russian retail clothing makers account for just 4% of total Russian sales.
Takeaway: Retail clothing may not be a monopolized industry, but it is close. The only real way to gain new market share is to either create new, innovative fashion that everybody will want or to steal customers from another business or brand. With the average American household spending more than $1,700 per year on clothing every year, this means these average person shops at the same stores for clothes when they need to update their fashion.
Additional Essential Facts About the Retail Clothing Industry
1. Since 1985, clothing made for women aged 16 and over has been the fastest growing sector of this industry.
2. In 2010, only two U.S. counties had more than 500 retail clothing establishments manufacturing clothing. There were less than 8,000 total employment locations.
3. The average retail clothing store employs 13 people.
4. In the last 20 years, there has been no change in the employment prospects of children’s and women’s retail clothing. For men’s, however, a 17.5% decrease in employment opportunities occurred.
5. 75% of all salaried fashion designers live in California or New York.
6. Over the past 15 years, the retail clothing industry in the United States experienced over 300 mass layoffs of employees per year.
7. Producing leather products is the most dangerous component of this industry, causing 5 injury reports per 100 workers.
Takeaway: People don’t generally make their own clothes these days, which means there will always be a niche area for this industry. What will drive sales is competitive pricing, innovative styling, and convenience in being able to continue to increase revenues. Unfortunately that will mean fewer jobs in the United States especially as manufacturing will be outsourced to countries that have lower average compensation rates.