The casual wear trend that has been on the rise especially after the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic has paved the way for an increase in the demand for knitwear products in the winter of late 2022. To take advantage of this opportunity, Turkish knitwear manufacturers set their eyes on the US market.
The casual wear trend that has been on the rise especially after the breakout of the COVID- 19 pandemic has paved the way for an increase in the demand for knitwear products in the winter of late 2022. To take advantage of this opportunity, Turkish knitwear manufacturers set their eyes on the US market.
The United States of America (USA) Knitwear Country Report prepared by ZOBU Consulting for Istanbul Apparel Exporters' Association (İHKİB) serves as a precious guide for exporters working with or willing to make business with the US.
More consumers opting for casual wear due to pandemic
As people started to spend more time at home since the beginning of the pandemic and in line with the related common feeling of uncertainty about the future, consumer habits changed against certain items like ready wear and cosmetics. While this trend is expected to reverse in the normalization period, it is thought that the “new normal” will feature less use of fashion products.
Türkiye is featured as the 18th largest knitwear supplier of the US in the said period. While the knitwear imports of the US in 2021 was reported as 15.5 billion dollars, 162 million dollars of this figure was comprised of Türkiye’s exports to the US.
Countries with highest knitwear exports to US
The report lists the top 10 countries that realized the highest knitwear exports to the US in the period of 2017 – 2021 as China, Vietnam, Honduras, Indonesia, Guatemala, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Nicaragua, India and Jordan, respectively. Meanwhile, Türkiye is featured as the 18th largest knitwear supplier of the US in the said period. While the knitwear imports of the US in 2021 was reported as 15.5 billion dollars, 162 million dollars of this figure was comprised of Türkiye’s exports to the US.
Digitalization speeds up the textile industry
As a consequence of the pandemic-related changes in consumer behavior, the concept of digitalization, which was already on the agenda of the ready wear sector prior to the pandemic, has led to a permanent increase in online sales. With the development of digital channels, both the existing brands and the emerging ones have started to diversify their online sales channels and invest more in alternative solutions like big data analysis so that they can grab a larger share from the market. This recent digitalization trend has also been witnessed in the field of supply chain management, which encompasses the selection of the right sourcing providers.
Sustainability at the core of ready wear industry
Another significant trend with a strong impact on the ready wear industry has turned out to be sustainability. While the most common sustainability efforts include adopting sustainable and ethical approaches throughout the supply chain, such as opting for the use of recyclable materials and the remarketing of second-hand products, a wide range of alternative applications such as innovative technologies utilized for reducing the use of water and dye in the production processes (i.e. dyeing the products at stores) are also seen in the industry.
New trends in knitwear products
Among the significant components of the wholesale clothing industry, athletic apparel market keeps expanding since the beginning of the pandemic, and a global annual growth of 7 to 10 percent is foreseen for the next five-year period. This rise in the demand for athletic apparel reminded knitwear manufacturers that they need to offer their potential customers athletic clothing solutions as well.
Like in all other segments of the ready wear sector, the trend for plus-size garments has evolved from the idea of producing special collections to the tendency of expanding fashionable collections in a way that they embrace plus-sizes as well.
The strategy of offering a wide range of plus-size clothes, including knitwear products, to the market has already been adopted by clothing manufacturers for quite some time. Like in all other segments of the ready wear sector, the trend for plus-size garments has evolved from the idea of producing special collections to the tendency of expanding fashionable collections in a way that they embrace plus-sizes as well.
United States, the land of big opportunities for exporters
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely damaged the entire retail sector and distribution channels, and there is little hope that the damage will be fully recovered. While most of the retailers have already stopped their activities, many of them are trying to survive despite serious losses in turnover. Thus, the demand in the market will most probably be met by agile and relatively small retailers and brands in the near future. Under these circumstances, the existing gaps in the market will serve as great opportunities for exporters looking for alternative means of market penetration. Exporters with a strong distribution and online sales capability are expected to grab a significant share from the US market as long as they can manage to offer the right combination of products.
American people’s increasing tendency to buy casual clothes
The pandemic-related changes in consumer behavior have led the American people to tend towards casual garments made from comfortable textile and clothes materials more than ever. While 29.5 percent of online sales in the US comprised of ready wear products as of December 2021, apparel products were followed by footwear and leathercraft products. Amazon, Walmart, Apple and Best Buy are the largest online retailers in the country, which is also home to an increasing number of retailers offering omni-channel shopping experience.
Distribution, storage and shipping solutions in the USAmong the countries offering the most advanced and widespread storage solutions, the US has a well-organized multimodal transport system despite its wide geography. The use of high technology and innovative logistics solutions help the development of a relatively economic and efficient logistics system that enables vendors to carry out fast and error-free shipping of products to consumers across the country.