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The State of Fashion: 100+ Fashion Industry Statistics (2021)

As globalization and digital innovation shift consumer spending habits and fashion as we know it, the wave of change within the industry is on the rise. Currently, 74% of consumers rely on social networks to guide purchasing decisions, however, e-commerce is not the only medium we are seeing evolve. From the rise in sustainability to an emphasis on community engagement, this article takes a deep dive into fashion industry statistics and how they are propelling executives to disrupt and challenge the norm. 

Clothing plays a role in every aspect of our lives whether it be professionally or personally. From picking fabrics to ordering products, we all use clothing to tell a story and share our brand. Whether you’re working directly in the fashion industry or not, understanding new and emerging trends and data will set you apart within the saturated market. To explore how strategic trends, marketing efforts, employment rates and other industry data are shaping fashion retailers in 2021 and beyond, let’s explore statistics that examine the forces that work within fashion. If you’re interested in learning about a specific topic jump to any industry section using our table of contents below. 


E-Commerce Fashion Industry Statistics

As mobile-friendly and smartphone technology has advanced the online shopping experience, e-commerce fashion industry statistics reveal that retailers are optimizing sites for the mobile user. 96% of Americans now own a cellphone, increasing time spent online and raising expectations for a faster and immediate shopping experience. Explore the e-commerce fashion industry statistics that are shaping changes in automation and buyer behaviors below. 

  1. E-Commerce transactions are expected to make up 36% of total fashion retail by 2022 (Forrester).
  2. In 2019, online fashion sales accounted for 28.24% of total retail e-commerce sales in the United States (Statista).
  3. Dedicated fan apps can increase yearly revenue by 5%, with ‘chosen’ customers not only “serving as brand ambassadors”, but also spending up to twice as much (Riskified).
  4. In 2019, U.S. online retail sales of physical goods amounted to 365.2 billion US dollars and are projected to reach close to 600 billion US dollars in 2024 (Statista).
  5. The average online fashion shopper belongs to between one and five loyalty programs (Astound Commerce).
  6. Existing customers spend 67% more than new shoppers, making loyalty programs generally fruitful (HubSpot).
  7. While e-commerce has raised customer expectations, only a third of consumers think shopping online is more convenient than going to a physical store (McKinsey & Company).
  8. 81% of North American consumers are likely to continue buying from a brand because of the loyalty program incentives (Brand Loyalty).
  9. Internet retailing accounted for nearly 11% of the apparel market in 2018, double the proportion just three years prior, driven in part by increasing internet and smartphone penetration (India Brand Equity Foundation).
  10. In 2018, fashion e-commerce accounted for roughly 20.4 percent of the total fashion retail sales in the United States and has continued to experience a steady annual growth rate since 2003 (Statista).
  11. In 2018, U.S. retail e-commerce revenue from the sale of fashion apparel, footwear and accessories amounted to an estimated 102 billion U.S. dollars and is projected to grow to almost 146 billion U.S. dollars by 2023 (Statista).
  12. Within the fashion sector, just 6% of 2018 retail spend in the region was via e-commerce, as opposed to China’s near-32 percent (McKinsey & Company).
  13. A superior digital presence can also improve physical store sales, which is evidenced by the 67% of online shoppers who, when returning an item in person, will browse or make another purchase (Big Commerce).
  14. A 2018 survey of 1000 fashion enthusiasts revealed that almost half used a fashion app for browsing or buying (Astound Commerce).
  15. Over 900 million people have global social media connections, allowing huge ecosystems like Facebook and WeChat to significantly contribute to the efficiency of international markets (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company).
  16. In 2018, apparel, footwear, and accessories had the highest share of cross-border digital buyers globally, with 68% having purchased from an international seller (eMarketer).

Global Fashion Industry Statistics 

It’s no surprise that countries like China, Russia and the United States are dominant players in the lucrative $2.5 trillion global fashion industry, however, many regions are emerging every day in the market. Continue reading for the fashion industry’s growth rate and other global fashion industry statistics that will set a tone for international competition. 

  1. Apparel spending in China is projected to reach $391.7bn by the end of 2020 (Statista).
  2. China leads as the largest fashion market in the world with an official growth forecast of 6 percent to 6.5 percent for 2019 (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company).
  3. The Indian clothing market will be worth $53.7 billion in 2020, making it the sixth-largest globally (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company).
  4. Indonesia is due to be the largest modest fashion market in the world (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company).
  5. India saw the strongest absolute growth globally in the number of internet users in the past year (Hootsuite).
  6. Russia’s clothing market is worth close to $30 billion annually and is the ninth-largest in the world (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company).
  7. Russians have embraced e-commerce too, which grew at an impressive 26 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2019 (The Moscow Times).
  8. The average consumer in the UAE and Saudi Arabia respectively spends over 6 times and 2 times as much on fashion as the average consumer in China (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company).
  9. An emerging middle class experiencing rising levels of disposable income is developing a taste for fashion brands away from the informal market and it is this demographic that is set to drive growth in the region’s $50 billion apparel sector across the six core markets — Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company).
  10. Singapore is a more mature and slower-growing e-commerce market, yet brick-and-mortars remain important for apparel retail and account for 91% of sales (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company).
  11. Russia is the world’s largest apparel market (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company)
  12. Chinese tourists were up almost 25% in the first half of 2019 from the previous year and collectively, are expected to spend more than $1.1 billion in total this year (Russian Travel Digest).
  13. The global women's apparel market growth rate will increase by 50% over the next 12 years (McKinsey & Company).
  14. Annual fashion sales in the Middle East’s Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) markets amount to $50 billion, reflecting the region’s significant financial clout (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company). 
  15. Spending in some GCC countries is among the highest on a per capita basis globally, reaching approximately $500 and $1,600 per person in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) respectively (Oreanda).
  16. Internet penetration in the UAE and Saudi Arabia is at 99 and 89% respectively, compared to just 57% in China (Hootsuite & We Are Social).

Consumer Spending Statistics 

Clothing trends and considerations like shopping local, convenience and brand loyalty are paving the way for the retail industry. From moving stores outside of busy cities to prioritizing localization, fostering an in-store experience is on the rise. Keep reading for other consumer spending statistics that are changing the way executives think about online and in-store sales.  

  1. In the U.S Retail sales of clothing stores in December 2019 reached 23.6bn USD (Statista).
  2. The U.S. apparel market size is projected to $390bn U.S. for 2025 (Statista).
  3. 85% of shoppers engage with both online and offline touchpoints, compared with 80% in 2017 (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company).
  4. 85% of consumers cited convenience as the main reason to shop locally (Facebook).
  5. In the fashion category, more than 70 percent of purchases are still made offline (Forrester).
  6. Local shops also make returns much easier for consumers and from a retailer’s perspective, the return rate for apparel is much lower for clothes bought in-store than for those bought online (16% versus 25% respectively) (McKinsey & Company).
  7. Consumer preference for local shopping is leading retailers to rethink their store network and to open in areas outside the traditional commercial centers (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company).
  8. Customers’ growing desire for convenience and to shop close to home means that in 2020, many fashion retailers will move into the consumer's neighborhood as a core pillar of their omnichannel strategy (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company).
  9. Over 40 percent of survey respondents in The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company's "The State of Fashion" report anticipate smaller format stores playing an increasingly important role next year (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company).
  10. Revenue of the Women's & Girls' apparel market worldwide by country 2018 reached 116.87bn U.S. dollars (Statista).

What factors are shaping the future of fashion? Whether pivotal strategies be dictated by digital innovation, buyer expectations or retail locationing, we’ve pulled the top fashion industry trends and forecasting statistics to shed light on what’s next for fashion. 

  1. GSMA Intelligence forecasts that in the Asia Pacific the rate for unique mobile penetration will grow from 67% in 2017 to 73% by 2025 and that the region will account for just over half of new mobile subscribers globally by the same year (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company).
  2. In Europe and the US, more than 65 percent of consumers expect to decrease their spending on apparel, while only 40 percent expect to decrease total household spending (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company).
  3. Moreover, four in five customers shopping in stores today browse the internet on their phones as they go (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company).
  4. China was the largest online fashion market in 2018 (volume of $246.9 billion) and it’s expected to reach a volume three times as large as the US by 2023 (Statista).
  5. As of March 2020, 60% of consumers in the US already reported that they need to be careful how they spend their money, with more than one-third stating that the pandemic is even impacting their ability to make financial ends meet (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company).
  6. By 2022, worldwide online apparel and accessories sales are forecast to reach $765 billion (eMarketer).
  7. McKinsey and Oxford Economics analysis shows that, even in the most positive economic recovery scenario, GDP will only return to pre-crisis levels by the end of 2020 or even the beginning of 2021 (McKinsey & Company).
  8. Evidence from previous crisis shows that it may take up to two years to fully restore consumer confidence (McKinsey & Company).
  9. Due to the pandemic in Italy, the number of items on discount is up 20 percent year-on-year (Edited).
  10. In the luxury segment, we expect consumers to return more quickly to paying full price for quality, timeless goods, as was the case after the 2008-2009 financial crisis (McKinsey & Company).

Marketing in Fashion Statistics

Marketing can make or break the success of a brand’s campaign or product launch. Check out the top marketing in fashion statistics to see what strategies are propelling brands in 2021 and beyond.  

  1. The Apparel industry’s 18.62% average follower growth is especially impressive considering the large median audience for brands in this sector (TrackMaven).
  2. Stories are now growing 15x faster than feed-based sharing (Block Party).
  3. 4 out of 5 major brands are already using the Stories format (Block Party).
  4. Marketers are increasing social ad budgets (up 32 percent in 2018 alone) and producing more ads than ever before (CMO Survey).
  5. One of every four Facebook Pages now uses paid media (Hootsuite).
  6. Facebook already accounts for 23% of total U.S. digital ad spending (eMarketer).
  7. 17%have either implemented shoppable galleries or plan to do so in the next 12 months (Hootsuite)
  8. 70% of China's Gen Zers now buy directly from social media (WARC).
  9. 69% of U.S. respondents say that directly messaging a company helps them feel more confident about the brand (Facebook).
  10. Social media use is expanding at around 25 percent annually, with nearly 70 percent of users active on Instagram (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company).
  11. While an incredible 86% of companies use influencer marketing, the engagement rate for such sponsored posts on Instagram dropped from 4% in Q1 2016 to 2.4 percent in Q1 2019 (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company).
  12. Industry executives believe that the top trend shaping the fashion industry within the next 12 months will be a rise in the importance of “storytelling” and marketing strategies that resemble media productions (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company).
  13. 70% of fashion executives believe that increased exploration of and spend on new media platforms versus more “traditional” platforms will be crucial to their companies (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company).
  14. At the same time, executives are showing hesitation, and only 8 percent are choosing to increase spend on TikTok, the biggest emerging platform with more than 800 million downloads and a user base skewed under 30 (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company).
  15. Ultimately, all the content creation needs to lead to sales, and social commerce is growing fast. By 2023, it could account for a fifth of all online sales in China — a staggering $166 billion (McKinsey & Company).

Employment Statistics 

Are you interested in joining the 161 million individuals who work in the fashion industry? Explore the following employment statistics to get a look into average salary wages, unemployment rates and job opportunities in the clothing industry. 

  1. In the United States, an estimated 1.8 million people are employed in the fashion industry, among whom 232,000 in manufacturing textiles for apparel and other fashion items (Joint Economic Committee). 
  2. The unemployment rate within the fashion industry is 3.8% (Fashion United).
  3. Average annual wages in fashion range from 26,440 dollars, for textile bleaching and dyeing machine operators, to 84,600 dollars for marketing and sales managers in fashion (Fashion United).
  4. About 79% of all US employees in fashion work for apparel retailers. The average annual wage at such companies is 26,650 dollars (Fashion United).
  5. A smaller amount, 145,000 employees accounting for 8% of all employees in fashion work in apparel wholesale and merchandising (Fashion United).
  6. 8% or 143,000 people are employed in the apparel manufacturing industry where the average annual wage is 34,110 dollars (Fashion United).
  7. The United States has room for around 18,000 fashion designers. Their average annual wage is 73,690 dollars, meaning that they receive over 30 dollars per hour (Fashion United).

Footwear and Apparel Stats 

Per order, consumers paid up to 100 U.S. dollars when purchasing footwear, clothing or accessories in 2017. As the digital age has made shopping a faster and more customized experience, let’s take a look at how specific apparel items like footwear and accessories are performing in the industry today. 

  1. Sport lifestyle is 1 of the top 3 footwear classes identified as contributors to potential incremental footwear sales growth through 2021 (NPD).
  2. 37% of consumers say they are extremely or very interested in purchasing a customized, self-designed pair of footwear (NPD).
  3. In the next 12 months, the global footwear market size was valued at $365.5 billion in 2020 and is estimated to reach $530.3 billion by 2027 with a CAGR of 5.5% from 2020 to 2027 (Allied Market Research). 
  4. The athletic segment would witness the fastest growth, registering a CAGR of 6.3% during the forecast (Allied Market Research). 
  5. The global footwear market size is estimated to reach $530.4 billion by the end of 2027 (Allied Market Research). 
  6. Smart footwear is the latest footwear market trend (Allied Market Research). 
  7. China and India are emerging markets in this market. China is expected to grow with a CAGR of 8.0% while India is expected to exhibit a 7.3% growth rate during the forecast period (Allied Market Research). 
  8. The athletic footwear US market alone generated around 19.6 billion dollars in 2017 (Revuze).
  9. Revenue in the Bags & Accessories segment is projected to reach US$96,128m in 2020 (Statista).
  10. Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2020-2024) of 9.7%, resulting in a projected market volume of US$139,003m by 2024 (Statista).
  11. In global comparison, most revenue will be generated in China (US$43,726m in 2020) (Statista).
  12. Apparel and footwear in-store retail market value reached 292 bn U.S. dollars in 2016 (Statista).
  13. In the past few years, global retail sales for the apparel and footwear market reached 1.9 trillion U.S. dollars, and are expected to rise to above three trillion U.S. dollars by 2030 (Statista).
  14. In 2019, the size of the footwear and apparel market in the United States was estimated to be approximately 368 billion U.S. dollars (Statista).

Jewelry & Luxury Fashion Industry Statistics 

The clothing industry is about ten times the size of the jewelry industry as measured in annual sales, but the average deal value in apparel is almost 20 times that in jewelry. Read these and other jewelry and luxury fashion industry statistics below to see how designer and luxury goods are standing out in a crowded industry.

  1. Online channels account for just 13% of luxury brand sales (Forrester).
  2. With the global luxury market reportedly reaching $1 trillion in 2018, it’s set to top $1.5 trillion by 2025 (BCG & Altagamma). 
  3. Millennials, who currently represent around 32% of the luxury market, are driving this change: by 2025, they will make up 50% (Matter of Form).
  4. Geographically, China continues to be the majority force, making up 33% of the market and expected to rise to 40% by 2025, representing 75% of the market growth between 2018-25 (Matter of Form).
  5. 67% of Gen Z and 60% of millennial luxury purchases have bought a designer collaboration piece or special edition (Matter of Form).
  6. Annual global sales of €148 billion are expected to grow at a healthy clip of 5 to 6 percent each year, totaling €250 billion by 2020 (McKinsey & Company). 
  7. Branded items already account for 60 percent of sales in the watch market (McKinsey & Company). 
  8. Two-thirds of luxury shoppers say they engage in online research before an in-store purchase; one- to two-thirds say they frequently turn to social media for information and advice (McKinsey & Company). 

Sustainability Fashion Industry Statistics 

As a third of Generation Z in the US are saying they will pay for sustainability compared to around one in 10 baby boomers, executives are taking note that there is an increasing demand for sustainably sourced products from their younger generation of consumers. Read how countries and brands alike are shifting budgets and efforts to support this wave for environmentally conscious fashion in our sustainability fashion industry statistics. 

  1. The EU is set to offer $23.5 million of funding to support sustainable bio-based textiles and circular business models (European Commission).
  2. 45% of apparel companies are looking to integrate more innovative bio-based materials (McKinsey & Company).
  3. Sustainable swimwear is a fast-growing category: searches are up 65% year-on-year, with demand for environmentally-friendly bikinis and swimsuits mostly coming from Australia, followed by the UK and the US (Lyst).
  4. 67% of sourcing executives state that the use of innovative sustainable materials will be important for their company (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company).
  5. Denmark is the country that has seen the biggest year-on-year growth in searches for sustainable fashion, with the highest percentage of searches coming from Copenhagen (Lyst).
  6. Searches for “vegan leather” have increased by 69% year-on-year, averaging 33,100 online monthly searches, while searches for “faux leather” remain constant — this data suggests that customers tend to respond more positively to the keyword “vegan” rather than “faux” (Lyst).
  7. 79% of all consumers say that they include sustainable packaging in their purchasing decisions (McKinsey & Company). 
  8. As opposed to their European counterparts, who tend to search for “sustainable fashion,” Australian shoppers are more interested in “ethical fashion:” online searches for “ethical” fashion pieces have increased 67% over the past three months (Lyst).
  9. Moscow is generating the highest number of searches for sustainable fashion (Lyst).
  10. Over the past three months, searches for “upcycled fashion” have grown 42%  (Lyst).

Fashion Industry Stats: FAQ

Explore some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the fashion industry below!

Q: What percentage of clothes are made in China?

A: In past years, China has accounted for as much as 40% of all clothing brought into the country. In April 2020, approximately 3.19 billion meters of clothing fabric was produced in China.

Q: What country buys the most clothing? 

A: Although China as a country has the largest amount of purchases due to its large population, an average individual consumer in China spends just under a quarter of the amount than an average US consumer – and buys 23 fewer items per year.

Q: How much is the fashion industry worth?

A: Fashion is a highly sophisticated, $2.5 trillion global industry.

Q: Is the fashion industry growing? What is the fashion industry growth rate?

A: Yes, the fashion industry is growing. The fashion industry has an expected growth rate of around 6.2 percent expected in 2020.

Now that you’ve caught a glimpse into the factors that are shaping what’s next in retail, share these fashion industry statistics with those who might be interested in the business of fashion. From underwear to footwear, companies are changing their strategies to reach consumers every day. Stay in the know on all things retail with our extensive resources. For more resources on apparel, check out our study on underwear hygiene and eco-friendly ways to clean clothing.