The Most Important Fashion Industry Statistics in 2021

Even before the coronavirus crisis, 2021 did not look promising for the global fashion industry. But now companies will have to exceed expectations to stay afloat. The industry has to focus on digital, environmental, and ethical innovation to stay relevant as consumer priorities drastically change.

So what do fashion industry statistics have to say about the state of the industry? As consumers, we might think that the industry has to take environmental and ethical concerns more seriously than ever. As fashionistas, we might develop new ways to enjoy fashion, budget- and planet-friendly.

So let’s dive in!

Top Fashion Industry Statistics (Editor’s Choice)

  • Global fashion industry statistics in 2020 predict that the total fashion industry revenue may drop between 27% and 30%.
  • 21% of UK respondents say that lower prices are their top reason for purchasing.
  • The fashion industry is the second-largest consumer of water in the world.
  • 57% of surveyed consumers have made significant changes to their lifestyles to make it more sustainable.
  • There are over 10,000 fashion-related searches every minute in the UK.
  • The fashion industry is responsible for 8 to 10% of global carbon emissions, according to fashion industry pollution statistics.
  • Fashion ecommerce in the UK is expected to grow to $35.2 billion in revenue in 2024.
  • Rental fashion is becoming one of the leading sustainability-focused fashion industry trends.

Global Fashion Industry Statistics

1. The fashion industry’s worth was predicted to reach $1.5 trillion in 2020, according to previous estimates.

(Statista)

As the world population grows, the demand for apparel and footwear has been rising for years. However, in 2021, the figures could end up somewhat different due to the pandemic and the brick-and-mortar stores closing all over the world.

2. Global fashion industry statistics for 2020 show that global fashion industry profits fell by 93% last year.

(McKinsey)

All over the world, fashion industry statistics paint a similar picture. The pandemic is causing issues with both supply and demand. Concerning demand, consumers are preparing for a hit.

Earlier predictions stated that the total fashion industry revenue could drop between 27% and 30% year-on-year in 2020. However, it’s 2021 and the results for 2020 are in. Compared to 2010, global fashion industry profits fell by 93% in 2020.

3. Fast fashion industry statistics project that the global fast fashion market would decline to around $31.4 billion in 2020.

(Research And Markets)

In 2019, the global fast fashion market worth was estimated at around $35.8 billion. Its value was therefore expected to decline at a CAGR of -12.32%. These fast fashion statistics show the impact of both the pandemic and the restrictions meant to slow it down. However, in 2023, the fast fashion market is expected to bounce back and grow by 6.7%, reaching a figure of $38.21 billion.

4. In 2021, the US fashion market is estimated at $142.8 billion, according to the US fashion industry statistics.

(Statista)

The major-league companies such as Macy’s were bringing in massive revenue. Regarding workforce stats, the US apparel manufacturing industry employed around 110,370 employees in the same year.

5. According to the fashion jewellery industry statistics, the global jewellery market is expected to reach $480.5 billion by 2025.

(Matter of Form, Grand View Research)

Fashion jewellery has been the fastest-growing segment of the luxury fashion industry for a while. According to the same report, the fashion jewellery industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.1% by 2025.

6. According to fashion accessories industry statistics, the global accessories market is projected to reach $462.9 billion in 2021.

(Statista)

The largest fashion accessories market in 2021 is China, generating almost a quarter of this figure—$95.4 billion in 2021. The market is also expected to continue growing at a CAGR of 4.5% between 2020 and 2023.

UK Fashion Industry Statistics

7. The average price per unit in the apparel industry of the UK has risen from £11.62 to £14.28 between 2012 and 2020.

(Statista)

The average price per unit in the UK has been rising continually from 2012 to 2020. It’s expected to keep growing until 2025 when it’s projected to reach £14.77.

8. British fashion industry statistics predict that the apparel consumption volume will start growing again from 2021 onwards.

(Statista)

In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the apparel consumption volume in the UK decreased. However, it is predicted to start growing again in 2021 and reach over 4.5 billion pieces by 2025.

9. The largest clothing retailer in the UK, Marks and Spencer, had a 7.6% share of the apparel market in 2018.

(GlobalData)

The M&S has held the leading position in the UK apparel market for a long time. Although the data from 2018 showed that it held the largest UK clothing retailers market share, it was a significant downturn from the previous 9.7% in 2008. At the same time, Mark & Spencer’s main competitor, Primark, has seen a pronounced upturn in market share. In the changing environment of 2020 apparel retail, the competition might become even more serious.

10. After these two main competitors, the next on the list is Next, with 6.6% of market share in 2018.

(Statista)

While Next and Primark have been competing pretty harshly in the last several years, brands such as George (Asda) and Arcadia have been rising on the ladder, becoming some of the top clothing retailers in the UK. Along with M&S and Primark, these retailers are the most decisive players in the UK apparel market at the moment.

11. According to the UK fashion industry statistics for 2020, 21% of UK respondents said the lowest prices were their top reason for purchasing.

(Marketing Week)

Quality comes right after the lowest price on most people’s lists (15%). But the third most important reason for buying is also price-related—best special offer, according to 14% of respondents. This shows how important pricing is for most shoppers when deciding to purchase fashion items.

12. Fashion magazine industry statistics show an overall drop in revenue between 2011 (£103.8 million) and 2019 (£21.2 million).

(Statista)

The statistic refers to the sales of women lifestyle and fashion magazines’ print versions in the UK between 2011 and 2019. However, fashion magazines have not lost their relevance thanks to their digital presence. Also, a part of them have transformed and now include other topics such as politics, as is the case with Harper’s Bazaar in recent years.

Fashion Industry Environmental Impact Statistics

13. 90% of clothing donated to the charity retail sector is either sold or recycled.

(Charity Retail Association)

The second-hand or pre-owned market is gaining traction, and even the luxury second-hand market is expanding quickly. The focus on reusing and recycling clothing items is to make sure that less of it ends up in landfills. According to the Charity Retail Association, 327,000 pieces of textile have been reused or recycled in the last financial year.

14. The global ethical fashion market was expected to decline by 3.24% in 2020.

(Connature)

Sustainable fashion industry statistics show that, while consumer interest in sustainability is rising, the global ethical fashion market is not growing as quickly as expected. While the 2020 effects are mostly connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ethical market is facing other issues like pricing, as ethical manufacturing costs more.

However, the interest in ethical manufacturing is growing, and the market is expected to recover in 2023 when it’s predicted to reach $8.25 billion.

15. Fast fashion statistics show that UK citizens consume an average of 26.7 kg of textile per capita (2010).

(ECAP, ACS Publications)

Clothing consumption has increased everywhere, especially in the UK. According to some estimates, it is twice as much as that of Italian citizens.

Within a few decades, due to a decrease in prices and an increase in availability, the number of clothes purchased in the EU per person rose by 40%.

Fashion industry stats illuminate this problem further—between 1975 and 2018, the global textile production per capita increased from 5.9 kg to 13 kg. 

16. According to fashion industry pollution statistics, the fashion industry is responsible for 8 to 10% of global carbon emissions.

(UN Environment Programme)

By emitting between 4 and 5 billion tonnes per year, the fashion industry exceeds the carbon footprint of all international flights and maritime shipping combined. The fashion industry also accounts for 24% of all pesticide use and 11% of all insecticide use in the world.

One of the most concerning fashion industry facts is that the industry will spend a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2050 if nothing changes.

17. Discarding clothing improperly and without recycling leads to at least $500 billion of lost value per year.

(Ellen McArthur Foundation, Nature)

Fashion industry statistics paint a bleak picture concerning environmental impact. The estimated amount of textile waste coming from the industry is more than 92 million tonnes per year. This includes new clothing that went unsold. The industry is also responsible for about 35% (190,000 tonnes per year) of primary microplastic pollution in the oceans.

18. The fashion industry is the second-largest consumer of water in the world.

(UNECE, Nature)

Clothing industry statistics show that textile treatment and dyeing contribute to around 20% of global water waste. Not only that, but it is also responsible for about 7% of local groundwater and drinking water losses. The impact is particularly felt in textile manufacturing hubs such as China and India.

Fashion Industry Statistics - Fashion Ecommerce

Online Fashion Industry Statistics

19. Fashion ecommerce in the UK is expected to grow to $35.2 billion in revenue by 2024.

(Statista)

The numbers are showing that the UK online fashion retail industry is expected to grow in 2021 and beyond. It’s also predicted that the number of online fashion shoppers will continue to increase, with 48.6 million shoppers expected in 2024. Concerning online shopping in 2020, fashion and textile products sales have doubled in May (47.2%) compared to the same month in 2019 (18%), probably due to lockdowns.

20. Retail fashion industry statistics show that online apparel sales accounted for 38.6% of total US apparel sales in 2020.

(Digital Commerce 360, Statista)

The 2020 growth in online sales was seen in the US as well. But the US fashion ecommerce growth has been on a steep upward trajectory for the last three years, rising from 34.0% in 2018 and 29.9% in 2017.

The growing fashion ecommerce industry in the US was worth $102.5 billion in 2019 and is expected to hit $153.6 billion in 2024. The US is the world’s second-largest ecommerce market, so these statistics on its fashion industry are not surprising.

21. The global fashion ecommerce market will reach $759.46 billion in 2021.

(GlobeNewswire, Common Thread)

This dizzying half a trillion figure also makes it the largest segment of the global ecommerce industry. Fashion industry growth will strongly rely on the further development of fashion ecommerce in 2021.

What is also dizzying is the Asia Pacific market’s speed of development, as it is the fastest-growing fashion ecommerce market in the world. However, the largest market within fashion ecommerce is North America.

22. There are over 10,000 fashion-related searches every minute in the UK.

(Think With Google)

The fashion industry has moved to the digital realm in 2020. Google has also gained interesting insights about so-called ‘perpetual shoppers’. As people spend a lot of time online, things they see when browsing the web influence their opinion regarding fashion trends. Therefore, companies need to have a constant online presence to influence those opinions and shopping decisions.

Fashion Industry Trends

23. According to fashion industry facts, companies will have to end the seasonality trend.

(Think With Google)

The need to make fashion more sustainable, combined with the pandemic-caused changes in fashion choices, are forcing companies to produce year-round, multi-seasonal collections. Contrasting the fast fashion trend, the increasing number of consumers are opting for classical items that would last for several seasons. They are also planning their fashion choices more carefully, with capsule wardrobes being one popular example.

24. Rental fashion is becoming one of the leading sustainability-focused fashion industry trends.

(The Guardian, PR Newswire)

And while many would expect the rental market to take a downturn in 2020, leading rental companies’ owners say otherwise. Eshita Kabra-Davies, the rental platform By Rotation’s founder, said that the number of By Rotation users had grown from 12,000 to 25,000 since the UK had gone into lockdown.

And the numbers agree—the market is projected to reach $2.08 billion by 2025, with a CAGR of 8.7% during the period of 2020–2025.

25. 57% of surveyed consumers have made significant changes to their lifestyles to make it more sustainable.

(McKinsey)

Fashion statistics confirm that consumers want to be environmentally responsible, which affects their lifestyle and purchasing decisions. Moreover, 60% of them reported making additional efforts to recycle and find products packaged in an eco-friendly way.

26. In 2020, 84% of shoppers did online research before purchasing. 

(Think With Google)

This represents a significant increase compared to 2019 when the percentage was around 76%. This growth was mostly fueled by consumers over 45, some of whom have had to try out online shopping for the first time this year.

27. The UK’s most viewed fashion retailer brand on Youtube in 2020 had 35.1 million uploaded video views.

(Statista)

The fashion retailer brand that garnered all these views is Footasylum. As the pandemic has driven more European consumers to online shopping, the companies’ digital presence strategies are more important than ever.

Conclusion

As we can see from all the stats and facts, improved online presence, along with sustainability, falls into the most imperative fashion industry trends. Also, while the industry is experiencing a downturn in 2020, the projections for the next couple of years are positive and suggest recovery, combined with urgently-needed innovations.

Fashion industry stats show that, while one of the largest industries in the world is not immune to global changes, its creative potential might leave us with a lot to look forward to.

FAQ

How much was the fashion industry worth in 2020?

The value of the fashion industry in 2020 was predicted to reach $1.5 trillion in 2020, according to previous estimates. However, after all the drops and changes in the market have been taken into account, the fashion industry could be worth less than estimated t at the moment.

Is fashion the biggest industry?

No. Fashion is outweighed by life and health insurance funds, pension funds, and commercial real estate, to name a few. However, fashion is the biggest ecommerce industry in the world.

Is the fashion industry growing or declining?

In 2020, the fashion market declined by 93% in profit. In 2021, it is expected that the market will recover slowly with the reopening of brick-and-mortar stores. However, the market will not go back to its pre-pandemic levels until at least 2022.

How much was the UK fashion industry’s worth in 2020?

Fashion industry statistics for the UK estimate the industry’s worth at about £60.3 billion in 2020 and £62.2 billion in 2021. The UK fashion industry also employs about 555,000 people, according to FashionUnited.

What are the most popular clothing brands in the UK?

According to YouGov, the most popular clothing brands in the UK at the moment are Levi’s, Clarks, Adidas, Nike, Next, Primark, H&M, Dr. Martens, and Timberland. When it comes to luxury brands, luxury shopping statistics show that the most popular brand is Rolex with the highest percentage of positive comments. 

How big is the online fashion industry?

The online fashion market is projected to reach approximately $759.46 billion in 2021. It is also the largest segment of the ecommerce market, meaning that apparel and footwear are the most commonly purchased categories online. Fashion industry statistics show that the market is expected to continue growing by 9.4% annually and hit $953.1 billion by the end of 2024.

Sources:

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