Where Consumers Shop for Apparel and Footwear

June 2023

The apparel and footwear industry rebounded in 2021 but faced challenges in 2022 due to ongoing COVID-19 effects and macroeconomic disruptions. Offline retail maintains its importance alongside e-commerce, as consumers demand seamless integration of online and offline channels, leading to store renovations and emerging physical stores by e-commerce retailers. E-commerce is projected to outperform offline channels, and generative AI holds promise for the future of fashion.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key findings

Macroeconomic factors create recovery concerns

Despite new waves of COVID-19 that resulted in lockdowns and other restrictions across markets for part of 2021, global sales of apparel and footwear grew by 12% y-o-y in constant terms. The industry is set to grow over its 2019 size by 2024, but as China began its most extensive COVID-19 lockdown in two years in March 2022, followed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, inflation rates are at an all-time high, resulting in an uneven and fragile recovery.

Asia Pacific dominates apparel and footwear

Asia Pacific leads apparel and footwear in terms of value sales, at USD663 billion in 2021, and accounts for 39% of all global spending on apparel and footwear. The region’s dominance is driven by China which accounts for 64% of all sales in the region. Its large population and highly aspirational consumer base have been key to its high share. India is another market that has a strong contribution and high potential to aid the region’s continued high share.

Rise in online sales continues as new shopping habits stick

COVID-19 has undeniably served as a catalyst for a stronger move towards digitalisation and direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales. Backed by innovation and rising access to technology, this has changed the way retailers deliver products and services. Consumers have also continued to warm to the thought of shopping online for convenience when mobility is restricted, quicker deliveries by online retailers and the introduction of new offerings such as click and collect.

Home-centric lifestyles benefit sportswear


Key findings
The apparel and footwear industry is plagued by various challenges
Sportswear continues to outperform apparel and footwear but slows down
Staying flat: “Resilience” amidst constantly emerging challenges
E-commerce growth is stagnant with the back of retail offline in 2022
E-commerce continues to earn shares in Asia Pacific and Eastern Europe
Transforming the retail landscape: Enabling seamless online and offline experiences
Apparel and footwear specialists remains the largest channel in 2022 with growth in shares
Sports goods stores: fastest growing offline channel in 2017-2022
Apparel and footwear specialists outperform the offline channels yet to reach 2019 levels
Off-price apparel and footwear specialists adapt to ongoing challenges since 2019
US: H&M’s exploration of in-store technology: Introducing smart mirrors at COS stores
Japan: KAPOK KNOT opens its first permanent store providing immersive experiences
Department stores continues to shrink in the global market, led by the decline in Asia Pacific
Transformation ahead: Exploring the evolving landscape of department stores in China
US department stores maintain leadership with shrinking market share
Censuum : department store for sustainable and responsible brands in Denmark
The rise of art in South Korea’s department stores
Sports goods stores thrive in retail offline, driven by the wellness and casualisation trend
Channel leaders Decathlon SA and Nike Inc maintain dominance from 2017 to 2022
Tech-driven stores: Nike opens the world’s first Nike Style concept store in Seoul
Sportswear in daily outfits: The young and luxury strategy of golfwear brand Pearly Gates
Gen Z and sustainability: Puma engages with young environmentalists in the US and Europe
Engage with the local community: Kolon brings outdoor lifestyles into the concept store
Private label surges ahead amidst mounting costs of living in Europe and North America
Western Europe and North America account for 80% of all private label sales in 2022
Budgeteers: Navigating uncertainty, preparing for anything
Private label’s sustainability initiative: Amazon introduces Amazon Aware
Investment in sportswear: Walmart launches new brand Love & Sports in 2022
E-commerce here to stay across all product categories…
…as retailers and brands continue to invest in their digital capabilities
E-commerce growth slows in Asia Pacific, North America and Western Europe
Pure play retailers lead the way, with Shein’s parent company making its mark
Offline expansion: Shein opens a permanent store in Tokyo’s popular shopping district
Personalisation: Zalando uses curated recommendations to build efficiency and cut waste
Mobile apps: Uniqlo Malaysia introduces StyleHint app to encourage social empowerment
Livestreaming: Brands expand to livestreaming on social media to increase exposure in China
The recovery process is experiencing delays due to persistent challenges
Asia Pacific: Fuelling the growth of global apparel and footwear sales during 2022-2027
The dominance of e-commerce and the evolution of physical stores
Exploring the impact of virtual influencers in fashion beyond Asia
Could the Yeezy x adidas scandal make way for virtual influencers around the world?
The transformative impact of generative AI on the fashion industry
New York hosts the first AI Fashion Week in 2023
Key takeaways that will shape the future of apparel and footwear retail
Four trends shaping apparel and footwear e-commerce

Apparel and Footwear

Apparel is the aggregation of clothing and footwear. This dataset covers retail sales of apparel through both store-based retailers and non-store retailers. Excludes black market sales (i.e. untaxed, generated within informal retailing)and duty free sales (travel retail). Items must be new when sold to the consumer; second-hand/used items are excluded. Antique and/or vintage clothing and footwear is also excluded.

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