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Positive Outlook for Clothing Industry in 2006

Seventy percent of the respondents in a recent Trade Development Council (TDC) survey on trends in the clothing industry believe this year's market outlook will be better than last year.

Oracle Added Value, an independent survey company commissioned by TDC, interviewed a total of 400 exhibitors and 736 buyers attending the Hong Kong Fashion Week and World Boutique this week.

According to the survey, the abolition of textile and clothing quotas among WTO members last year has continued to increase export interest to regions where the quota system was previously applicable, namely, the US, Canada, Turkey and European Union. Sixty-nine percent of the exhibitors interviewed said that they expect to sell more goods to these countries in 2006 than 2005. The estimated average increase in the volume of products sold is 19%.

Major findings of the survey are as follows:

Market outlook for 2006 and market trends:

  1. About 70% of respondents said 2006 will be better than 2005.
  2. Both exhibitors and buyers think that age groups 21-25 and 26-30 have the highest growth potential.
  3. White collar workers and professionals/ managers/ executives are expected to be the market segments with the highest growth potential.

Regions with biggest growth in retail market: The Chinese mainland is regarded as the largest growth region, followed by Western Europe and the U.S. The average growth rate for these regions is expected to be around 20%.

The estimated average growth rate of the Chinese mainland market in 2006 is 22%. The top five cities with the biggest growth potential are Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Shenzhen.

Nearly 60% of the buyers interviewed placed more orders in 2005 as compared to 2004. Both the quantity of each order and the average unit price have increased.

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

  1. Fifty-eight percent of exhibitors said they actually sold more products to the U.S., Canada, Turkey and European Union in 2005 than 2004. As for 2006, 69% of exhibitors expect to sell more to the same markets than 2005. The average increase is 19%.
  2. Change of sourcing patterns - 77% of buyers selling to the U.S., Canada, Turkey and European Union said they sourced from other different countries or regions in 2005 than 2004. Among those buyers, 63% said they sourced more from the Asia-Pacific. The Chinese mainland and Hong Kong companies are the most popular suppliers.
  3. Fifty-eight percent of the buyers interviewed increased the number of their orders in 2005. Forty-seven percent of buyers increased the quantity of each order while 38% of buyers increased the average unit price.

Product Trends:

  1. Clothing categories with the fastest growth in 2006 are:
    Leisure casual wear/street wear, followed by evening wear/ party dress, business casual wear and sports wear.
  2. Popular colours for Fall/ Winter 2006 (apart from black, white and grey):
    Leisure casual wear/ street wear: beige, khaki, purple and brown
    Business wear: beige, khaki, brown and purple
  3. Popular materials for Fall/ Winter 2006
    Leisure casual wear/ street wear: cotton, denim and knit
    Business wear: cotton, corduroy, wool, polyester and knit
  4. Popular material characteristics for Fall/ Winter 2006
    Leisure casual wear/ street wear: softer handfeel, wrinkle-resistant, color-fast and durable
    Business wear: softer handfeel, wrinkle-resistant, stain resistant, and materials that facilitate special design & cut and water resistant

The Chinese mainland market:

  1. Forty percent of exhibitors and buyers interviewed are currently selling to the mainland market.
  2. Fifty-nine percent of exhibitors and 54% of buyers expect to conduct sales in the mainland in the next three years.

Brands in Hong Kong:

  1. 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.
  2. When comparing products at the same price level, more than half of respondents think that Hong Kong brands offer better design than other countries/ regions.
  3. When comparing products of the same quality, Hong Kong brands are considered to be more competitive in price.
  4. Hong Kong brands are perceived as most appealing to the Asia-Pacific Region, especially the Chinese mainland, followed by Europe and the U.S.


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

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Content provided by Hong Kong Trade Development Council