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Womenswear in Latin America

February 2020

Latin America saw the strongest regional decline globally in womenswear value over the review period. Sales were hampered by difficult economic conditions, including local currency devaluations, which negatively impacted consumption. The region’s largest categories, such as jeans and underwear, were the main sources of decline. Competition between local and international players is expected to intensify over the coming years.

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Key findings

Latin America sees the largest decline in womenswear sales globally

Sales of womenswear in Latin American suffered the strongest decline over the period 2014-2019, as a consequence of difficult macroeconomic conditions in Brazil and Argentina, which were not compensated for by positive results in Mexico, Colombia and Chile. Women are responsible for the bulk of household purchases, tending to postpone their personal acquisitions to provide the basic supplies for their families during the challenging periods of economic crisis.

Local and international fast fashion retailers pursue successful strategies of trading up, allied to geographic expansion

Leading local players develop successful strategies to strengthen their activities with more sophisticated offers based on dynamic fashion appeal and lifestyle concepts that no longer focus on discounts, favouring more diversified product mixes. International players strongly grow operating in more countries, thus competition is gradually becoming fiercer among the leading players.

Shares of womenswear categories vary across regional markets

Diversity in weather conditions, cultural environments and textile production results in different shares among womenswear categories across countries. Brazil sees high shares for jeans and underwear, Argentina and Colombia see strong sales of shirts and blouses, while in Chile, jackets and coats have a particularly high share.

E-commerce development still requires consumer education

The major apparel companies only started exploring e-commerce in Latin America in 2014. Consumers still need to be educated about the advantages of buying online for this channel to have a significant impact on apparel retailing.

Recovery, but sales in 2024 still below those in 2014

Womenswear is a mature category that tends to grow in line with countries’ GDPs. With Latin America’s overall positive macroeconomic prospects, sales of womenswear are expected to grow gradually over the forecast period.

Introduction

Scope
Key findings

Regional Overview

Sales decline in Latin America as a consequence of economic crisis
A gradual recovery is expected in the forecast period
Mexico and Colombia see growth in the context of wider regional decline
Brazil and Argentina post the strongest declines
Underwear and jeans are the biggest and most impacted categories
There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for Latin American countries
Mexico is the least concentrated market in terms of retail distribution
E-commerce still depends on consumers’ education to flourish

Leading Companies and Brands

Players have opportunities to increase market consolidation
Fast fashion retailers lead and present the fastest growth pace
Local retailers predominate and few operate in three or more markets
Zara takes the lead while H&M rapidly advances

Forecast Projections

Mexico expected to lead regional growth over 2019-2024
Positive forecast still does not compensate the historic decrease

Country Snapshots

Argentina – market context
Argentina – competitive and retail landscape
Brazil – market context
Brazil – market context
Brazil – competitive and retail landscape
Chile – market context
Chile – competitive and retail landscape
Colombia – market context
Colombia – competitive and retail landscape
Mexico – market context
Mexico – competitive and retail landscape
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