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Positive Outlook for Clothing Industry in 2005

Close to 75% of clothing professionals believe this year's market outlook will be better, or slightly better, than last year, according to a TDC survey.

Around 60% of the buyers interviewed have increased the number of orders placed and the purchase quantity per order over the previous year.

Oracle Market Research, an independent survey company commissioned by the Trade Development Council, interviewed a total of 445 exhibitors and 716 buyers attending the Hong Kong Fashion Week and World Boutique this week.

According to the survey, the abolition this year of the textiles and clothing quota among WTO members has increased export interest to regions where the quota system was previously applicable (US, Canada, Turkey and European Union).

The survey also revealed the importance of Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland as sourcing centres, and the growing potential of the mainland retail market. Around 40% of respondents are currently selling to the mainland, with this number expected to reach 60% within three years.

Major findings of the survey are as follows:

Market outlook of 2005: 74% of exhibitors and buyers said 2005 will be better or slightly better than 2004

Regions with biggest growth in retail market: Western Europe, the U.S. and the Chinese mainland are the three largest growth regions. The average growth rate is expected to be around 20%

Impact of abolition of textiles & clothing quotas among WTO members:

1. 77% of exhibitors and 62% of buyers said they have stronger interest in the U.S., Canada, Turkey and European Union markets following abolition of quotas.

2. Change of sourcing pattern - 71% of buyers interviewed said they would increase their sourcing activities in Asia. Hong Kong/ Chinese mainland is the preferred region, followed by South Korea, India and Taiwan.

Product Trends

1. Clothing categories with fastest growth in 2005 are:
Leisure casual wear/street wear, followed by business wear, evening wear/ party dress and sports wear.

2. Popular colours for Fall/ Winter 2005 (apart from black, white and grey):
Leisure casual wear/ street wear: khaki, green and blue
Business wear: purple, khaki, blue and brown

3. Popular patterns for Fall/ Winter 2005: floral, checks and graphics

4. Popular materials for Fall/ Winter 2005:
Leisure casual wear/ street wear: cotton, denim, knit and polyester
Business wear: cotton, knit, wool, corduroy and fur

5. Sports wear:

  • Over a quarter of respondents are either producing or sourcing sports wear
  • T-shirts, sports uniforms, ski wear and shorts are key trading items
  • Apart from "quality" and "price", "fashionable style"and "brand" are regarded as important considerations when consumers purchase sports wear

The Chinese mainland market:

  • 40% of exhibitors and 36% of buyers interviewed are selling to the mainland markets, representing a growth of 4% to 6% on the previous year.
  • 55% of exhibitors and 60% of buyers expect to conduct sales in the mainland in the next three years
  • Major obstacles in developing the mainland market:
    1. Not familiar with local business laws
    2. Complicated tax system
    3. Do not understand local market needs

Brands in Hong Kong:

  • About 60% of respondents think Hong Kong companies in the casual wear/ street wear category have the highest potential to develop their own brands, followed by the evening wear/ party dress category
  • When comparing brands from other regions, Hong Kong brands are more competitive in terms of design rather than price.

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For press enquiries, please contact Ms Katherine Chan of TDC's Corporate and Media Communication Department at 2584 4537.

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Content provided by Hong Kong Trade Development Council