One industry that is always going well despite economic downturns is the garment industry. It has become a necessity-based industry which is why it is always accelerating. Statistically, the global apparel industry has reached $1.5 trillion in 2021 and is predicted to reach $2 trillion by the year 2027. In this huge industry, many countries are competing against one another for increasing their overall exports and gaining in terms of Gross Domestic Product. Germany is among the leading garment manufacturers as well as exporters of the world.
Overview of Garment Industry in Germany
The garment industry of Germany values at $61.76 billion in terms of 2022 revenues. The industry is a high-performing one which is why it is expected to grow at a 5.21% CAGR between 2022 and 2026. The women’s apparel market is the largest subsector of the garment industry in Germany with a revenue of $34.7 billion in 2022. By 2023, the volume growth in the industry will be 18.8% which indicates the fact that per-person garment purchases are going to increase significantly. Currently, 6% of the garments manufactured are catered for the luxury high-end buyers while 94% of the sales are in the non-luxury garments market.
The fashion and garments industry in Germany is highly dependent on online business models and e-commerce setups. Zalando.de is an online garments store that generated a revenue of $2.6 billion in 2021 making it one of the leading garment sellers in the entire market. Otto.de came second with a revenue of $1.7 billion. Hm.com had revenue of $1 billion. These sales include the local sales only and not the exports to other countries.
Garment Industry of Germany | Detailed Analysis
As of 2021, Germany imported textile and clothing products worth 49.8 billion Euros or 50.62 billion USD. On the other hand, the exports were 35.4 billion Euros or 36 billion USD. Germany is the fourth-largest exporter of garment and textile products while it is the second largest importer in the world as well. Despite being a small country, Germany has over 1500 brands in the garment industry with the employment of over 140,000 people.
Trends in the Garment Industry in Germany
There are various aspects that have shaped the garment industry in Germany. From consumer trends to economic position, various factors provide a unique trend to the garment industry of Germany.
Studies show that women shop more than men in Germany. As a result of this, there are many clothing manufacturers focused on womenswear and limited brands are for menswear. By 2021, trousers and sweaters were one of the most popular womenswear items in Germany.
By 2021, menswear had popularity in terms of trousers and dress shirts which were the most revenue-generating garments for the industry.
A survey conducted in 2021 also highlighted the shoppers’ preference on how they want to shop for clothes in Germany. The “Click and Collect” model has become quite popular over recent years. This means that the customers place their orders on the website and sometimes even pay over there. However, they go out to the shops and collect the dress themselves physically. While deliveries are possible, this enhances the trend of shopping. In contrast, Generation Z customers are looking forward to permanently switching to online shopping for garments.
One study has found that Germans have a special preference for sporty as well as casual clothing. They are not much involved with formal clothing. The main reason for this is the mass presence of sportswear brands such as Nike and Adidas as well as denim wear and casual clothing offered by Stone Island and Tommy Hilfiger. As of 2020, the German sportswear market was valued at 16.7 billion Euros or $17.03 billion.
A report also suggested that the garment industry trends in Germany are very dynamic and difficult to predict. This is because Germans are difficult to please and have extraordinarily high expectations for their clothing. They want to get the best quality product and want to get the best value in terms of money as well. However, price alone is not the deciding factor as Germans are keenly interested in having premium quality as well.
An important trend noticed in the garment industry of Germany is that the manufacturers are primarily targeting the aged group. The over-50 group makes up over 50% of the garment market in Germany. There are many reasons for this. Primarily, this group is able to afford pricier clothes and is mainly looking for quality. They don’t have budget problems either. On the other hand, the 25-49 group is much in the struggling phase and even though they might be spending a good amount of money on clothing, the volume of purchases isn’t that much.
Men’s Garment Market in Germany
The men’s garment market in Germany is one of the most important sectors in the industry as it accounted for more than $20 billion in 2022. Despite being a small market, this is a big number for Germany. It is one-fifth of what the USA had in the men’s apparel market in the same year. In addition to that, this sector is forecasted to grow at a Cumulative Average Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.28% between 2022 and 2026. As of 2022, the average volume per person in men’s apparel is 9.9 pieces.
The men’s garment market in Germany is made up of different types of garment products such as trousers, dress shirts, coats, jackets, sweaters, suit jackets, blazers, and full suits as well. The trend of trouser sales has stayed the same over the last 9 years between 2012 and 2021. There has been a fall in the revenue generated from dress shirts. As of 2012, they accounted for 2,726 Billion Euros or $2778 Billion. However, by 2021, this figure dropped down to 2340 Billion Euros or USD 2,385 Billion. The same happened for suits which fell from sales revenue of 566 billion Euros or $577 billion for the same period.
It can be inferred that there has been reduced demand for formal clothing. The men in the Garment market of Germany are more focused on casual clothing. Coats and Jackets made up 1617 Billion Euros or $1648 Billion in 2012 and increased to 1804 Billion Euros or $1838 Billion. Sweaters and Suit Jackets also went up in terms of sales for this period. The following chart summarizes the sales of different menswear garments in Germany.
Revenue from menswear in Germany from 2012 to 2021, by product group (In Million Euros)
Women’s Garment Market in Germany
The women’s garment market is the biggest subsector of the garment industry in Germany. It generated a revenue of more than $34.7 billion in 2022 and is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 5.1% between 2022 and 2026. This is also one-fifth of the women’s apparel segment revenue of the USA which was $163 billion in 2022. One important aspect to note in this sector is that women purchase more clothes than men. For this reason, the average volume per person in the women’s apparel market was 22.7 pieces compared to 9.9 pieces in the men’s apparel market.
The women’s garment market in Germany is dominated by trousers which generated over 6 billion Euros or 6.14 billion USD. In 2012, this figure was only around $5.5 billion. In addition to that, dresses and skirts also increased in revenue from 2012 to 2021. In 2012, dresses and skirts made up revenue of 2.38 billion Euros or 2.43 Billion USD. By 2021, this figure reached 2.82 billion Euros or 2.9 Billion USD. Many types of garments did not experience any major growth such as shirts, blouses, pantyhose, and leggings.
Kids Garment Market in Germany
A small segment of Germany’s garment industry is accounted for kids’ garments. As of 2019, revenue generated from the sales of garments for babies and children amounted to 2.75 billion Euros or 2.81 billion USD . Studies found that revenue from children’s apparel in Germany amounted to $7 billion in 2022 which is a major increase from data of 2019. In addition to that, the market is forecasted to grow at a rate of 5.51% CAGR between 2022 and 2026 . The volume per person in the children’s apparel market was 12.9 pieces in 2022.
From the data provided, it can be inferred that Germany has the most volume per person in the case of women’s garments followed by kids’ garments and then men’s garments.
The future of this sector of the garment industry in Germany is bright. However, the birth rate is an important aspect to consider in the long term. Germany has one of the lowest birth rates with 1.54 births per woman as of 2019 . As of 2022, the birth rate was 9.381 which indicates the number of births per thousand people in the population. This indicates that there are fewer newborns and children in the country. The falling birth rate also indicates that the country is not going to have a sustainable kids’ garment market and is quite dynamic.
Opportunities in the Garment Industry of Germany
Germany is among the top garment manufacturers in the world. However, to go even beyond the current point, Germany should be focused on some areas.
Foremost, Germany needs to focus on the fact that China is the leading garment manufacturing country in the world. It has developed a process of cost leadership as well as focusing more on technology to benefit from economies of scale and have an even better result. Exports of Germany’s garments are going to be reduced unless Germany focuses on the development of technological methods to overcome rising costs.
Another opportunity for Germany is to export the garments to low-competition countries. This includes South African economies where Germany is not yet having any major presence in terms of garments.
Future opportunities include having joint collaborations with other countries and benefiting from their core competencies to improve the garment industry. This can help the country in reducing the costs as well.
Challenges in the Garment Industry of Germany
Although Germany is among the rising runners for its garment industry, certain challenges require attention.
Foremost challenge that is being faced by many garment manufacturing countries of the world is that China is heavily investing in the garment sector. As a result of this, they are able to cut down on costs massively with already low labor costs. Besides, China is benefitting from mass orders and bulk production as well. For this reason, it has become the leader of the garment industry in the world with over 38% share in the global market Germany, on the other hand, is a quality-focused manufacturing country. However, statistics show that the garment industry in several countries such as India, China, the USA, and many others have over 90% demand in the non-luxury clothing sector.
Another important challenge in the garment industry of Germany is the rapid rise of online shopping. People are more interested in online shopping which is why many physical stores are struggling to manage and retain sales. One study suggested that the garment industry had 35% of the sales from online shopping rather than physical store shopping.
Moreover, online shopping is also giving a tough time to local brands as people prefer imported products, sometimes, when they are cheaper. This is one reason why the imports of Germany’s garment market are higher than the exports.
One report suggested that Germans are highly price sensitive despite having a high GDP per capita of 39,500 Euros. The report suggested that Germans are always looking for discounts and do not spend much in the clothing sector. An average German spent €719 to $732 on clothing in 2019 which is quite lower than many other countries such as Italy which has spending of €834 to $850. Ideally, this indicates that if Germans are getting cheaper clothes from international stores, they will prefer them compared to the local market.
The garment industry of Germany is a vast one. From the statistical analysis above, we can conclude that the industry has bright prospects in terms of domestic market growth as well as export growth. However, Germany needs to focus on the few problems defined above for capturing the garments market in a better manner as well as improve its core competencies.