oday's fashion industry is synonymous with overconsumption, overproduction and widespread pollution. How bad is it right now?
This market overview will provide general understanding of apparel market and challenges, along with a strong focus on fast fashion stats and facts from industry-leading research papers.
As you go across the apparel and fast fashion facts and infographic, you may be surprised to see that some of them are slightly inconsistent. That's because different methodologies were used to estimate the fashion effects on the environment. It's pretty common as each major investigation relies on a variety of facts that may not be directly connected to each other.
Scroll down to be amazed by 2022-2026 fashion industry facts. Let's start!
Apparel and Fast Fashion Market Stats and Facts
- The global fashion industry is currently valued at $1.7 trillion as of 2022, which means that the apparel industry is generating $1.7 billion in revenue.
- According to the Consumer Market Outlook, this value will increase from current $1.7 to almost 2 trillion U.S. dollars by 2026.
- From 2020 to 2024, the slowest growth rate came in 2020, when coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic heavily impacted retail and led to a spike of 8.6 percent in online sales.
- As to the traditional retail, from 2021 onwards annual growth rates are set to be maintained relatively steady until at least 2024, ranging between 12.2 and 12.9 percent each year.
- The fashion industry accounts for 2% of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
- Women's Apparel segment is the largest within the apparel market.
- Revenue in the Women's Apparel segment has risen to US$790.90bn in 2022.
- Women's Apparel segment is expected to grow by 5.61% (CAGR 2022-2026) annually.
- In the Women's Apparel segment, volume of manufactured items is expected to amount to 79,011,000,000 pieces by 2026.
- The Women's Apparel segment is expected to show a volume growth of 10.9% in 2023.
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- The average purchasing volume per person in the Women's Apparel segment is expected to amount to 9 pieces in 2022.
- In terms of countries breakdown, the United States fashion industry is the largest.
- US fashion industry is valued at approximately $369.39 billion, which represents 21% of the global market.
- From 2000 to 2015, clothing sales doubled from 100 to 200 billion units a year, exceeding 100 billion garments for the first time in 2014.
- Worldwide, clothing utilization – the average number of times a garment is worn before it ceases to be used – has decreased by 36% compared to 15 years ago (2000-2014).
- In the US, clothes are only worn for around a quarter of the global average.
- The same pattern is emerging in China, where clothing utilization has decreased by 70% over the last 15 years.
- According to the PFMMR, roughly 111 million tonnes (Mt) of fiber were produced for textiles in 2019.
- 68.7 million tonnes of fiber was used in apparel.
- Approximately 66% of all fibers produced worldwide are used in the apparel sector. 34% of fibers are used in home textiles, technical textiles, or other applications.
- As more and more online retailers, big and small, offer the option to send back goods easily and often for free, return rates, especially of fashion items, have skyrocketed, exceeding 30% of all purchased goods.
- The European industry is the second biggest exporter of textile products in the world, after China, representing 23% share of the global market.
- The biggest EU national producers in terms of production value are Italy, Germany, United Kingdom, France and Spain which are together responsible for 68% of total production value.
- The share of the EU population that is concerned with issues of sustainability and weighs it in their apparel purchases is approximately 37.5%.
- Fast fashion market value in 2022 is 99.2bn USD.
- In 2026, the global market value of fast fashion is forecasted to reach a value of approximately 133 billion U.S. dollars.
- In Europe, fast fashion companies went from an average offering of two collections per year in 2000 to five per year in 2011.
- Zara updates collections every 2 weeks, releasing 24 collections a year, while H&M offers between 12 and 16.
- From 2020 to 2024, total US fashion ecommerce sales are set to grow by over $80 billion—a 60 percent increase overall and an average annual growth rate of around 12 percent.
- In terms of ecommerce sales, the US fashion industry growth rate in 2022 is expected at 12.4 percent, a marginal increase from the 12.2 percent recorded in 2021. With this increase, sales are expected to total $170.91 billion in 2022.
- The US ecommerce fashion industry size is forecast to surpass the $200 billion mark for the first time in 2024.
- According to the UN Environment Programme, 20% of global wastewater
comes from textile dyeing.
- Demand for clothing continues to grow quickly, driven particularly by emerging markets in Asia and South America. Should growth continue as expected, total clothing sales could reach 175 million tonnes in 2050 – more than three times today’s amount.
- Worldwide, solid waste generated per person per day ranges from 100 grams to 4.5 kilogram per person
- Globally, sustainability of apparel is extremely important to 22% purchasers.
- 76% of UK lifestyle brand consumers care more about the sustainability of products than they did a year ago.
- 11% of German consumers examine lifestyle brands' sustainability practices when buying a product
Apparel and Fast Fashion Infographic
Share this infographic so that more people know about the devastating consequences of apparel buying habits and fast fashion.
Fast fashion effect on environment: ISSUES
- Fashion industry is responsible for a shocking 4 to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions every year
- The ratio of raw material ending up in the final product for polyester and cotton is roughly 65%, meaning 35% is sent to landfill.
- If the industry continues on its current path, by 2050, textiles production would use more than 25% of the carbon budget for a 2°C pathway.
- Textiles are the fourth-largest “cause of environmental pressure” in the EU, according to research by the European Environment Agency.
- Annually, 43 million tonnes of chemicals are used to produce textiles.
- It is estimated that over 8,000 different chemicals are used to turn raw materials into textiles.
- The textile chemicals market is expected to reach USD 29 billion by 2024.
- Chemicals are used at several stages – from fiber production, to dyeing, treating, and finishing processes – and often to give specific properties to the items, e.g. product softer fabric.
- Textiles production (including cotton farming) uses around 93 billion cubic meters of water annually.
- Apart from 93 billion cubic meters of water, 98 million tons of non-renewable resources are extracted each year for textile production.
- Textile production was responsible for 1.2 billion tons of CO2 equivalent in 2015 alone. This is more than the emissions from all international flights and maritime and shipping combined.
- The fashion industry is predicted to consume 25% to 30% of the world’s remaining carbon budget by 2050 at its current growth pace.
- Of the total fiber input used for clothing, 87% is landfilled or incinerated.
- As much as 73% of material going into the clothing system is lost after final garment use, 10% is lost during garment production (e.g. as offcuts) and 2% is sent to landfill or incineration from garments that are produced, yet never make it to market.
- Less than 1% of material used to produce clothing is recycled into new clothing.
- To make a single cotton t-shirt, 2,700 litres of fresh water are required according to estimates, enough to meet one person’s drinking needs for 2.5 years.
- Nearly 70% of clothing is made from polyester or other synthetic fabrics from non-renewables like crude oil.
- Garments made from synthetic fibers are responsible for as much as 35% of primary microplastics released into the environment globally.
- A single laundry load of polyester clothes can discharge 700,000 microplastic fibers that can end up in the food chain.
- One garbage truck’s worth of textiles is landfilled or incinerated every single second.
- Washing synthetics releases an estimated 0.5 million tonnes of microfibers into the ocean a year.
- In the business-as-usual scenario, more than 150 million tonnes of clothing would be landfilled or burned in 2050.
- Based on the weight of today’s world population of 300 million tonnes, between 2015 and 2050 the weight of clothes in landfill would accumulate to over 30 million tonnes.
What Is Being Done to Reduce Fast Fashion Environmental Impact?
- In February 2021, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the new circular economy action plan. It demands compliance with additional measures to achieve a carbon-neutral, environmentally sustainable, toxic-free and fully circular economy by 2050, enforcing stricter rules and binding targets by 2030.
- In March 2022, the Commission has presented a Green Deal, a strategy designed to "make textiles more durable, repairable, reusable and recyclable" and to specifically tackle fast fashion as the main driving force of accelerating waste and environment pollution.
- Six interventions that deliver over 60% of the necessary reductions to align with a 2°C scenario, i.e. to keep the global warming at 2°C in post-industrial times:
- maximizing material efficiency
- scaling more sustainable materials and practices
- accelerating the development of innovative materials
- maximizing energy efficiency
- eliminating coal in manufacturing
- and shifting to 100 percent renewable electricity
5. Provided the general public is appropriately educated on recycled fashion strategies, The EU import market for recycled apparel is potentially worth at least €63.2 billion.
What of the fashion industry facts impressed you most? Share in comments!
This is the first article of the fast fashion cycle. We'll soon review what is fast fashion, what does sustainability mean, and what steps each of us can take towards a more sustainable life. Let's stay in touch!
11. Infographic: Ana Denis