Major Factors Affecting Demand for Apparel and Home Textiles

Introduction

The goal of this series is to examine major factors affecting demand for apparel and home textiles, and how this impacts fiber demand and preference from the consumer back through the supply chain, with an emphasis on the global consumer and the importance of emerging markets such as China.

Consumer Preference: Emphasis on China and India

Many factors affect demand for products made from cotton and other fibers. This session identifies the key factors, and zeros in on the positive consumer perceptions of cotton and cotton products worldwide as one reason why cotton continues to be the most popular natural fiber.

Product Competition for Consumers' Attention

There are a lot more products competing with apparel for consumers’ attention now than a couple decades ago.  As designers, manufacturers and retailers, we need to build quality, excitement and confidence into apparel to get consumers to spend on our products, particularly during uncertain economic times.

Cotton Confidence

The current fiber environment is highly competitive, from prices to fiber attributes and performance.  Recent volatility in cotton prices caused brands/retailers to question the future availability and competitiveness of cotton products.  However, there is every reason to believe that adequate cotton will be available, and that consumers will continue to rank it as their preferred fiber.

China: Internal Policies Favoring Synthetics

China, as the world’s most rapidly growing economy and consumer market, is key to future demand for apparel and home textiles, and to cotton’s share of global fiber demand.  Recent pricing and investment policies in China have made cotton noncompetitive in that market, depressing global demand for cotton and boosting synthetics.

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