In June 2016, the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) released the third annual Fashion Industry Benchmarking Study, a survey of executives from leading textile, apparel, and fashion brands, retailers, importers, and wholesalers.
The survey was conducted in conjunction with Dr. Sheng Lu, Assistant Professor at the University of Delaware's 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.
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.”
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.
USFIA and Dr. Lu surveyed 30 executives from U.S.-based fashion companies between March 2016 and April 2016. In terms of business size, 92 percent of respondents report having more than 500 employees and 84 percent 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.