Exploring the Garment Industry in the USA


The United States of America is among the three biggest economies of the world with a GDP of $23 trillion by 2021. The reason behind being such a big and highly developed economy is because it has focused more on the service or tertiary sector and limited manufacturing and primary sectors. For example, the retail sales of garments in the USA are among one of the highest figures for any country. However, in terms of the production of garments, the USA is far behind. The entire garment industry of the USA is quite an interesting one. Let’s take a look at it.

Overview of the Garment Industry in the USA

As stated earlier, the USA is one of the biggest markets for apparel sales. This is why almost all the multinational apparel and clothing brands have their stores within the USA. As far as consolidated revenues are concerned, the apparel market of the USA made revenue of $312 billion which is the largest all over the world. The market is forecasted to grow at a rate of 3.98% between 2022 and 2026 which indicates there is going to be a massive increase in the sales of clothing brands, both regular and luxury.

The largest segment out of the total market sales of garments in the USA is women’s apparel which made up $163 billion in 2022. This is the highest figure all over the world for the women’s apparel market. Data also shows that citizens of the USA have the highest per person spending in the apparel market. Revenues per person are up to $930 per person in 2022. In addition to that, volume-based growth is also noticed in the apparel market at a yearly rate of 9.7%.

As far as the average volume per person is concerned, people in the USA have an average of 83.9 pieces of clothing per person which again, is the highest one in the world. 94% of the sales are towards regular clothing while 6% of the apparel market sales count towards luxury clothing.

Garment Industry of USA | Detailed Analysis

While the statistics show that the garment industry of the USA is quite successful, the case is different when it comes to manufacturing. The industry lacks the manufacturing aspect of clothing at a major scale. Most of the popular brands such as Zara, Gucci, Calvin Klein, and others source their products from abroad. Several countries in the world are heavily investing in garment manufacturing with China’s garment industry being at the top.

Digital Marketspace Statistics of Apparel in the USA

The garment industry of the USA is also working well in the digital marketplace. Post-2020, there has been a sharp increase in the number of online shoppers for all the industries and the effect has been noticed in the garment industry as well. As of 2022, the revenue in the apparel market reached $121.9 billion and is forecasted to grow at a massive rate of 12.27% CAGR between 2022 and 2025. The growth rate of the online garment market projects that the revenue will increase up to $172.5 billion in 2025 .

It also shows that the trend of physical shopping has reduced which is why the markets are not growing at such a massive rate of 12% like the online market for garments. By 2025, it is forecasted that the digital markets will have 133 million users within the USA who are shopping for garments. The current user penetration is 35.8% while it is forecasted to cross 39.1% by 2025. Studies have also shown that people are spending more online. The average revenue per user has hit $1020 which is quite high.

Women’s Garment Market in the USA

The women’s garment market in the USA is not only the largest sub-sector of America’s garment industry but it also accounts for the biggest proportion of women’s garment sales all over the world. For this reason, America has become the most important country for women’s clothing and accessory brands. As far as the sales are concerned, the women’s apparel market made $163 billion in 2022 and it is forecasted that this segment will be growing at a rate of 4.03% between 2022 and 2026. Statistics show that women in the USA have one of the largest spendings on clothing products.

The average revenue per person in the women’s garment market amounted to $486.9 in 2022. This is quite high and way better than many other developed economies where the amount is barely even $200. In terms of volume, there is a 9.9% growth forecasted on an annual basis. As of now, the average volume per person for the women’s garment market is 33.4 pieces per person in 2022.

Men’s Garment Market in the USA

The men’s garment industry in the USA is a $100.5 billion market as of 2022 with a forecasted growth rate of 4.12% between 2022 and 2026 . The USA’s garment market for men is the biggest one in the world for the men’s industry. All other men’s garment markets account for a smaller proportion of sales. As a matter of fact, men in the United States of America have one of the highest per person spending of $300.1 in 2022 . Volume growth for this market is also forecasted at the rate of 10% for 2023 . The current average volume per person for the men’s apparel market is 21.1 pieces.

These statistics indicate the fact that men in the USA have a higher spending pattern, unlike other countries where men’s garment markets don’t perform as well as women’s markets. The dressing culture in the USA is also quite diverse which is one reason why the sales are high. For an office-going man, a 2-piece suit or a formal shirt with formal pants is essential in every way. For a person working in a restaurant, they need a casual working outfit along with their uniform. A man also needs clothes for fine dining and casual clothes such as t-shirts and denim jeans for casual events and gatherings. Most men in the USA have a higher number of casual clothes as compared to other types of clothes.

Children’s Garment Market in the USA

The children’s garment market in the USA is also among the growing ones. For this particular segment, the revenue figures for 2022 are $48.46 billion and the forecasted growth rate is 3.54% between 2022 and 2026. One of the interesting insights from these figures is that parents in the USA are not spending as much on their children’s clothing as they are on themselves. The market for women’s clothing and men’s clothing is forecasted to grow at 4.03% and 4.12% on an annual basis whereas the children’s garment market is not forecasted to grow at this rate.

Ideally, this also indicates that the US is experiencing a fall in the birth rate over the last few years which is why the demand for children’s clothing is not growing at a high rate, as opposed to the case in many other countries in the world.  In 2007, the birth rate in the USA was 2.07 meaning there were about 2070 babies per 1000 women. By 2021, this rate has fallen to 1663.5 births per 1000 women. This gives the reason why there has been a drastic fall in the children’s garment market in the USA.

However, the USA still stands as the market where most revenue is generated for children’s garments. One reason for this is the high prices of clothing items in the USA. In terms of per person revenues for the children’s garment market, the USA crossed the benchmark of $140 per person in 2022 and reached $144.7. The volume of clothing items is also forecasted at a growth of 9.3% per annum. The current average volume per person in the children’s apparel market is 29.4 pieces. By 2026, the total volume in this sector is forecasted to cross 11,140.8 million pieces.

Opportunities in the Garment Industry of the USA

One of the opportunities for the garment industry of the USA is that the country needs to focus on its manufacturing of garments. While garments are already being manufactured in the USA to an extent, the problem is that the majority volume is from imports and not from local production. One of the most important reasons why the country needs to focus on the manufacturing aspect is because there has been a sharp rise in the demand for “Made in the USA ” garments.

With the increase in awareness among the customers regarding the production of their clothing items, they want high-quality and sustainably produced garments only. With problems in importing from other countries such as forced Child labor in Pakistan, a factory fire in Bangladesh, substandard working conditions in India, and many other problems, the end customers do not want products made from these countries. The increase in this awareness has led to a sharp rise in demand for “Made in the USA ” clothes as it gives the idea to the end customer that their products are made in suitable working environments and legal working conditions with aspects of sustainability considered as well.

Consumer Reports National Research Center underwent a study to evaluate how much customer sensitivity is expected with buying products made within the USA compared to the ones not made in the USA. The study showed that 78% of Americans prefer buying a product that has a label of “Made in the USA” as compared to one made abroad. The survey found out that Americans had an issue with child labor, poor working conditions, and other such problems as well while they had the idea that garment manufacturing in the USA did not have any such problems.

As a focus on the garment manufacturing industry, the USA also needs to focus on the export market. Globally, the garment industry values at $1.5 trillion and is forecasted to reach $2 trillion by 2026. The textile exports are over $350 billion every year. It is a great idea for the USA to consider manufacturing and exporting garments because the value of US-manufactured products has been rising considerably over the last few years.

The USA can also invest in much more modern technology and innovative mechanisms to bring down the cost of garment products made in the USA. As the US is already focused on saving energy and resources, such an approach is going to be quite useful because it will be cost-saving for the country while bringing in more GDP and employment as well.

Challenges in the Garment Industry of the USA

One of the biggest challenges for the garment industry in the USA is China. China has become the leading garment manufacturer in the world and accounted for 31.6% of the global garment exports while it accounted for 43.5% of global textile export value. On the other hand, the USA is not focused on the manufacture and sale of garment products to other countries. One problem this creates is the domination of China over the USA in the garment industry. Additionally, the retailers in the USA are becoming extremely dependent on China. Therefore, due to any political issues, the USA can no longer restrict China in terms of the garment industry.

Moreover, a bigger issue is that the USA has one of the highest import bills in terms of garment imports from China. This results in a negative balance of trade and payments leading to a worsening position of the USA in the long run. According to Statistics by US Census Bureau, the total exports of the USA to China were $151,442.2 million while the imports of the USA from China were $504,935.4 million which brings a negative balance of payments of $-353,493.2 million owed by the US to China. Garment products are one of the biggest amounts in this total which makes it a challenge for the USA’s balance of payments. Additionally, China being the biggest manufacturer of garments, has somewhat control over the garments industry of the USA as well.


The USA is often regarded as the “world economy” as many industries of the world emerge from the USA. Being such an important country, it is quite odd that it has not focused much on the case of the garment industry. Garment manufacturing needs to be improved in the USA so that people of the USA eventually shift to domestically produced goods. It will also help the US reduce its dependency in terms of clothing from the Chinese garment industry. Likewise, it will help in a better situation of the balance of payments.

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