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41 Garment Industry Statistics and Trends

The American apparel market is the largest of its type in the world today. Store-based retailing for the garment industry totaled $292 billion in 2016. Retail sales at clothing stores in the United States often exceed $15 billion per month. In December 2017, the holiday surge in sales lifting that figure to more than $23 billion.

The revenues of the garment industry are typically higher for girls’ and women’s apparel, with the value listed at approximately $117 billion in 2017. Men’s and boys’ apparel brought in about $87 billion during the same period for this sector.

Gap has the largest share of the garment industry in terms of apparel brand companies, holding a 4% market share. Nike might not compete at that level, but its revenues of $4.89 billion in North America alone make them a significant contributor to the overall garment industry.

The apparel market is always evolving to meet new customer trends. New technologies will make the shopping experience more personal, customized, and enjoyable.

Essential Garment Industry Statistics

#1. The garment industry in the United States employs over 579,000 workers. These employees are responsible for supplying more than 8000 different textile products to the military and other customers. (BizVibe)

#2. Over $18.5 billion worth of new equipment and manufacturing facilities were introduced to the American garment industry between 2005 to 2014. This investment figure includes startups the recycle textile waste into resins and other usable products. (BizVibe)

#3. In 2015, the average worker in the garment industry was making $626 per week if their job duties were part of the manufacturing process. Retail workers were only earning $245 per week during this time. (BizVibe)

#4. Up to 75 million people are currently employed by the global garment industry. This figure includes sectors such as footwear, clothing, and textiles. Only 20 million people were employed in the sector in 2000. (Clean Clothes Campaign)

#5. About 1.8 million people are currently employed in the fashion industry, with about 232,000 involved in manufacturing textiles for apparel and other industry items. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

#6. About 8% of the workers in the garment industry are involved in wholesaling and merchandising. The average wage for the employees in the sector is just over $52,000 per year. (Fashion United)

#7. A single mill in China can use up to 200 tons of water for every one ton of fabric that it dyes. During the busy season for the garment industry, residents around the facilities say that their rivers run with the colors used by the factory. These untreated colors are toxic when they wash off from the mills. (Treehugger)

#8. Millions of tons of unused fabric go to waste every year in Chinese facilities because they are dyed the wrong color. (Treehugger)

#9. The average cotton picker in India only earns the equivalent of $2 per day for their work. In some countries like Uzbekistan, there is still forced labor harvesting this essential component of the garment industry. Americans who grow and pick cotton today earn an average salary of $40,000 annually. (Clean Clothes Campaign)

#10. Europe is responsible for 38% of the world’s garment imports. Americans are responsible for another 20% of the industry. The three largest suppliers of goods to the import-export market are China, Bangladesh, and India. (Clean Clothes Campaign)

#11. Even though the total employment figures in the garment manufacturing industry has declined by over 80% in the United States since 1990, the total productivity coming from labor more than doubled during that period. It has also doubled at textile mills and at footwear manufacturing facilities. (Clean Clothes Campaign)

#12. Germany had the highest hourly compensation costs within the apparel manufacturing industry, but the Philippines had the lowest at just $0.88 per hour. (Clean Clothes Campaign)

#13. Over 232,000 people attend Fashion Week in New York City each year. It is an event that brings over $20 million in revenues to the area. (Clean Clothes Campaign)

#14. Apparel in the United States accounts for about 28% of the overall industry, with the total market value being more than $330 million each year. (BizVibe)

#15. 98% of the garments purchased in the United States comes from the import market. Almost half of the items come directly from China, and it represents 40% of the American market. (BizVibe)

#16. Coalitions that protect human rights have reached out to 72 different brands to encourage more transparency on their efforts to prevent forced labor. Only 17 apparel companies have committed to publishing all of the information requested. (Human Rights Watch)

#17. The capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.4 billion in 2016, which is the last year that information has been made available. (National Council of Textile Organizations)

#18. The value of shipments for the American garment industry in 2017 was $77.9 billion. Fabrics and yarns led the way at $31.5 billion, followed by $26.6 billion for carpets, home furnishings, and non-apparel sewn products. Only $12.5 billion was attributed to garments. (National Council of Textile Organizations)

#19. Exports of fibers, apparel, and textiles during that year totaled $28.6 billion. Cotton and wool were the most popular items in this category, representing $5.9 billion in value. (National Council of Textile Organizations)

#20. Investments in yarn, fabric, and fiber have more than doubled since 2009 when the value stood at $960 million. The total investment in 2016 was $2.1 billion. (National Council of Textile Organizations)

#21. Manmade fibers, yarn, and fabrics are worth $13 billion in exports to the American garment industry. Mexico purchases the most product in this category, with a total investment of $4.4 billion. Canada comes in second at $1.7 billion. These countries are followed by Honduras ($1.3 billion), China ($987 billion), and the Dominican Republic ($473 million). (National Council of Textile Organizations)

#22. The calculated duties for all imports for domestic consumption in the garment industry were $34.8 billion in 2017. That figure includes $13.5 billion in apparel-related goods and textiles. (U.S. International Trade Commission)

#23. The Department of Defense spends about $2 billion each year with the American garment industry for uniforms and miscellaneous supplies. (National Council of Textile Organizations)

#24. Bangladesh employs over 3.5 million people in the garment industry each year. When the world experiences a surge of economic growth, up to 1 million more people can be hired in this sector. (The Asia Foundation)

#25. The garment industry in Bangladesh is responsible for approximately 80% of the export earnings that the country achieves each year. (The Asia Foundation)

#26. 61% of the exports that Bangladesh makes available to the global garment industry are destined for Europe each year. (World Finance)

#27. About 75% of the world’s fashion market is concentrated in four economic regions: Europe, China, Japan, and the United States. (Edge Expo)

#28. The garment industry contributes 10% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions because of its extensive supply chains and the energy needed for production purposes. That means this sector is second only to oil for being the largest polluter on the planet today. (Edge Expo)

#29. About 20% of the world’s wastewater comes from the fashion industry. It takes about 20,000 liters of water to produce one t-shirt and a pair of jeans. (Edge Expo)

#30. Cotton farming is responsible for 11% of the pesticides and 24% of insecticides used on croplands today even though it represents only 3% of arable land usage. (Edge Expo)

#31. There were 15.1 million tons of textile waste generated in 2013, of which 12.8 million tons were simply discarded. (NPR)

#32. The average person will throw away about 70 pounds of clothing and footwear each year instead of looking for ways to recycle the items. Up to 95% of the garments that make their way into landfills each year could be turned into other useful items. (Edge Expo)

#33. When the garment industry can use recycled cotton to make items, it can save almost all of the water that would be necessary for processing items. That means each shirt and pair of jeans that enters the recycling chain can reduce water consumption by 5,000 gallons. (Edge Expo)

#34. The United States exports over $1 billion in used garments each year. About 70% of the global population uses second-hand clothing instead of purchasing items new at the retail level. (SMART)

#35. Households in the United Kingdom own almost $50 billion in unworn clothing that remains stored in their closets. (Business2Community)

#36. Approximately 15% of the fabric that is intended for clothing ends up going onto the cutting room floor instead. (Timo Rissanen)

#37. Over 253 tons of textiles are sent to a landfill in Hong Kong every day. This figure is expected to rise since China will soon be responsible for making over half of the world’s garments each year. (Redress)

#38. The six fastest-growing apparel exporters by percentage in the industry today are Bangladesh, Vietnam, India, Cambodia, Poland, and Jordan. Each one of these countries contributes over $5 billion to the global export market. (International Apparel Foundation)

#39. The rate of injury in the garment industry is one of the highest in the United States. Leather and allied product manufacturing has a 5% risk of injury, followed by textile mills at 3.3% and apparel manufacturing at 3%. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

#40. Louis Vuitton is the most valuable fashion brand in the world today, with a total value of $37.14 billion. H&M comes in second at $18.82 billion. Kering ($15.65 billion), Christian Dior ($11.9 billion), and Richemont ($11.8 billion) help to round out the top 5. (Hoovers)

#41. The total number of Facebook likes for the top 50 fashion pages on Facebook is 1.74 million. (Social Bakers)

Garment Industry Trends and Analysis

Over the next two decades, the human population will start approaching 9 billion people. If each person owned one pair of pants, a shirt, and a jacket, then you’d have 27 billion garments to manufacture. Since the average is closer to seven garments per person on a global scale, you’re looking at an industry that must produce almost 60 billion items each year. That’s a lot of demand, which means there’s a lot of spending to find.

If you go all the way back to 2010, the value of the global garment industry was already $2.56 trillion. By 2014, the world’s menswear and womenswear segments combined for over $1 trillion in revenues on their own. People are spending over $1,700 per year on garments because clothing is an essential need.

The market for garments continues to grow, but there is pressure on the industry to become more environmentally friendly. This trend will prevent maximum growth, but we should still see a CAGR of at least 5% through 2029. Emerging markets, such as India and its growing Middle Class, could see double that rate in some years.

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