Apparel industry analysis is the science of how different variables affect the sale, prices, and availability of clothing and other accessories in a given market. Most players in the apparel and fashion industries engage in analysis to some degree. Analysts’ predictions and studies can influence everything from what sort of women’s shoe styles will be popular to how much raw material a manufacturer should purchase. The field of apparel industry analysis is broad, with different clients needing different information. No matter how it is applied, however, the practice of apparel industry analysis is designed to take different market trends and observations, project them over time, and translate them into data that can help businesses plan for the future.
From its beginnings, apparel industry history has been marked by the changing tides of new trends. The market has kept pace in large part due to the availability of apparel industry market research, and reports—both internal and outsourced—about the apparel industry outlook, coming apparel industry trends, and the history of apparel industry competition. All of this forms the backbone of apparel industry analysis.
The basis of apparel industry analysis is the demand for accurate economic predictions. A trend that was all the rage one season may be relegated to the discount bins the next, or a garment that was once unremarkable can, once worn by a celebrity, be in such hot demand that manufacturers can barely produce the raw material before the piece has flown off the shelves. Some of keeping up with the apparel industry’s changing winds is luck and guesswork. The majority, however, is analysis-driven. An accurate apparel industry outlook is usually an essential part of any successful fashion company’s business plan.
Principles of economics largely govern the practice and application of apparel industry analysis. Analysts study market trends and past consumer buying patterns, but also factor in larger variables like global financial health, inflation or recession, and the costs of raw materials, such as cotton and leather. The analysts will create composite calculations and measurement rubrics to predict where the future of the fashion industry lies and to advise apparel industry businesses on where to make their investments.
Most of the economists conducting apparel industry analysis are employed by large fashion consulting firms. They typically work on a per-project basis, often helping companies come up with predictions or solutions for specific questions related to buying and sales decisions. The client base is huge. Design firms and fashion houses need advice on how to market new trends, and how to predict the market’s psyche, for instance, but so do more mainstream retailers. The data collected by analysts in many ways influences what appears anywhere from runways to discount clothing outlets.