FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C. – The United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) released the third annual Fashion Industry Benchmarking Study, a survey of 30 executives from leading fashion and apparel brands, retailers, importers, and wholesalers.
Despite challenges like the intense pressure on retailers to remain relevant and uncertainty in U.S. politics, the majority of respondents (92 percent) are optimistic about the five-year outlook for the U.S. fashion industry—a record high since we began conducting the study in 2014.
This year, industry executives rank “market competition in the United States” as their top business challenge. For the first time since 2014, the concern about competition exceeds concern about “increasing production or sourcing cost.”
The survey was conducted in conjunction with Dr. Sheng Lu, Assistant Professor at University of Delaware Department of Fashion & Apparel Studies. The survey asked respondents about the business outlook, sourcing practices, utilization of Free Trade Agreements and preference programs, and views on trade policy.
“We’re celebrating the fact that, despite all the uncertainties the industry is facing, fashion executives are largely optimistic about what’s ahead,” said Julia K. Hughes, President of USFIA. “However, it’s clear we still have a lot of work to do, especially in terms of helping companies manage their regulatory challenges—as well as convince policymakers of the need to eliminate trade barriers to create jobs and economic growth for some of our country’s most iconic, innovative companies.”
This year, we have additional new findings, focusing on the outlook for growth in Vietnam as we prepare for the implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, specifics on how ethical sourcing and sustainability factor into sourcing decisions, and even whether companies are considering new, buzzworthy destinations like Myanmar and Cuba for sourcing.
The survey was conducted between March 2016 and April 2016. In terms of business size, 92 percent of respondents report having more than 500 employees in their companies, while 84 percent of respondents report having more than 1,000 employees, suggesting that the findings well reflect the views of the most influential players in the U.S. fashion industry.
About the United States Fashion Industry Association
The United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) represents the fashion industry: textile and apparel brands, retailers, importers, and wholesalers based in the United States and doing business globally. Founded in 1989 as the United States Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel with the goal of eliminating the global apparel quota system, USFIA now works to eliminate the tariff and non-tariff barriers that impede the industry’s ability to trade freely and create economic opportunities in the United States and abroad. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., USFIA is the most respected voice for the fashion industry in front of the U.S. government as well as international governments and stakeholders. With constant, two-way communication, USFIA staff and counsel serve as the eyes and ears of our members in Washington and around the world, enabling them to stay ahead of the regulatory challenges of today and tomorrow. Through our publications, educational events, and networking opportunities, USFIA also connects with key stakeholders across the value chain including U.S. and international service providers, suppliers, and industry groups.