The United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) produces an annual Fashion Industry Benchmarking Study, in conjunction with Dr. Sheng Lu, Associate Professor in the University of Delaware's Department of Fashion & Apparel Studies. This annual survey of executives from leading fashion brands, retailers, importers, and wholesalers covers the business outlook, sourcing practices, utilization of Free Trade Agreements and preference programs, and views on trade policy.
USFIA Fashion Industry Benchmarking Study for 2021
In July 2021, we released the eighth annual Fashion Industry Benchmarking Study.
This year, thanks to the increasing vaccinations and robust economic recovery from COVID-19 in the U.S. and globally, respondents feel much more confident about the outlook for the U.S. fashion industry, both in 2021 and the next five years. Around 60 percent of respondents expect a full recovery of their sourcing value or volume to the pre-COVID level by 2022. However, its not all good news, about 20% still expect 2021 to be a very challenging year financially.
Another key finding is that in 2021 surging costs are a top concern for U.S. fashion companies. Disruptions from COVID have driven up production and sourcing costs and causing shipping delays and supply chain disruptions. In response, U.S. fashion companies have employed strategies including strengthening relationships with key vendors, emphasizing sourcing agility and flexibility, and leveraging digital technologies.
Finally, Asia remains the dominant supplier of apparel. This key finding has been consistent over the last eight years. Almost all the top ten most-utilized apparel sourcing destinations in 2021 are Asia-based, led by China (93 percent), Vietnam (87 percent), India (77 percent), and Bangladesh (73 percent).
Respondents represent companies with headquarters or major management offices in the United States. This year, around 75 percent of respondents also have headquarters or major management offices outside the United States, including China (27 percent), Asia other than China (46 percent), Europe (18 percent), Eastern and Central America (16 percent) and Mexico (4 percent) among others. In addition to 100 percent selling products in the United States, over half of respondents also sell products in Canada, Western Europe, Mexico, and Asia. These patterns reflect the global nature of fashion business today and the ever-closer connection of the U.S. fashion industry with markets and supply chain partners worldwide.