23 Apparel Manufacturing Industry Statistics, Trends & Analysis

#1. Global apparel manufacturing is an industry that currently brings in revenues of $658 billion. Since 2013, the industry has been growing at an annual average rate of 4.6%. (IBIS World)

#2. There are about 305,000 firms currently active in the global apparel manufacturing industry. They are responsible for the direct employment of about 10.7 million people. (IBIS World)

#3. The value of apparel and footwear for the in-store retail market stands at $292 billion in the United States. Total revenues earned in 2017 were over $328 billion. (Statista)

#4. Retail stores in the United States regularly exceed $15 billion in total revenues each month. In December 2017, retailers experienced in-store sales of $23.3 billion. (Statista)

#5. In the United States, about 116,000 people are currently employed by the apparel manufacturing industry. Around 40% of the job opportunities in the United States are for sewing machine operators. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

#6. The average earnings for the apparel manufacturing industry in the United States is $22.04 per hour as of June 2018, with the average work commitment being 37.3 hours. When production employees are examined as a group, their average wage in the U.S. is $15.54 per hour. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

#7. Sewing machine operators make the least within the industry, earning a media hourly wage of $11.14. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

#8. When textiles, clothing, and footwear are combined together, they are responsible for the employment of up to 75 million people in the world today. In 2000, there were only 20 million job opportunities within this sector. (International Labor Organization)

#9. About 75% of the workers who are directly responsible for apparel production are women. (Women Working Worldwide)

#10. Women’s, girls’, and infants’ cut-and-sew apparel offers the most value to the U.S. apparel manufacturing industry, with $5 billion in 2012. This segment was followed by footwear ($2.2 billion), leather and hide tanning and finishing ($1.5 billion), men’s cut and sew apparel ($1.4 billion), and sock mills ($1.3 billion). (U.S. Department of Commerce)

#11. In the combined apparel, leather, and allied product category, shipments from the U.S. totaled $17.9 billion. Apparel manufacturing was responsible for over 70% of this total. (U.S. Department of Commerce)

#12. 87% of the apparel content that is manufactured in the United States is sourced from local providers. About 93% of the apparel worn by U.S. citizens, however, comes from imports. (U.S. Department of Commerce)

#13. In 2012, value-added contributed 49% of the total value achieved by the industry. (U.S. Department of Commerce)

#14. California is the top employer within the industry in the United States, with more than 21,000 workers regularly employed. New York is the second-largest area of employment, followed by North Carolina and Texas. (U.S. Department of Commerce)

#15. Apparel manufacturing represents just 1% of the manufacturing-based employment opportunities found in the United States. (U.S. Department of Commerce)

#16. Since 1990, employment within the combined apparel, leather, and allied production manufacturing industry has contracted by 84%. That represents over 900,000 jobs lost. Only 2 states saw growth over this period: Idaho added 144 net jobs and Montana added 53 net jobs. (U.S. Department of Commerce)

#17. The United States imported $117.4 billion in apparel, leather, and allied products in 2012, while only exporting $6.1 billion. (U.S. Department of Commerce)

#18. 48% of the total imports received by the U.S. apparel manufacturing industry originate in China. That is followed by Vietnam, Mexico, and Indonesia, at 8%, 5%, and 5% respectively. Products manufactured in Asia represent 78% of total U.S. imports within the industry. (U.S. Department of Commerce)

#19. The average person in the United States purchases 64 garments per year. That comes at an average cost of $907 per person. (BizVibe)

#20. The apparel market in the United States provides about 28% of the total global industry value. (BizVibe)

#21. Nike is the largest apparel brand in the United States, responsible for about 4% of total sales. In 2015, the company achieved more than $30 billion in revenues. (BizVibe)

#22. 70% of textiles manufactured in the United States are governed by free trade agreement partners, with total export values reaching $27.8 billion in 2015. (National Council of Textile Organizations)

#23. 29 countries imported textile products worth $100 million or more from the United States in 2015. (BizVibe)

Apparel Manufacturing Industry Trends and Analysis

The trend for apparel has been to wear an item for a few times, toss it out, then purchase something to replace it. In the past, clothing could last for quite some time because of its overall quality. That is not necessarily true today. The consumer cost of apparel, however, is also much more competitive because of how it can be produced.

Part of the reason for our new consumer trends in apparel shopping is that 40% of fabric fibers used in clothing is polyester. That means you’re essentially wearing a plastic item. This has allowed fabrics to become lighter, thinner, and more comfortable. That has also reduced the overall quality of the garment.

Some retail stores bring in new designs every 14 days to support this hopping habit. Brands like Forever 21 or H&M may see new styles come into their stores every day.

Apparel manufacturing will continue to be a dominant industry from a global perspective. It will see its largest levels of influence in regions where labor costs are at their lowest. That keeps prices down for worldwide consumers, of which the United States is the largest contributor. As workers fight for higher wages in many markets, the unrest may push clothing prices higher.

That might shift consumer preferences to wear something briefly, then throw it away. Economic circumstances may shift preferences as well. The industry, however, is poised to remain growing at an average rate of 4% through 2028.