USFIA Releases First U.S. Fashion Industry Benchmarking Study

The United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA), Washington, has published its first U.S. Fashion Industry Benchmarking Study.

Conducted together with Sheng Lu, Ph.D., assistant professor in the University of Rhode Island’s Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design, the study involved surveying executives from more than 24 U.S.-based textile, apparel and fashion brands; retailers; importers; and wholesalers between March and April 2014 about their business outlooks, sourcing practices, utilization of free trade agreements (FTAs) and preference programs, and views on trade policy.

According to the study results, 89 percent of respondents are optimistic about the five-year outlook for the U.S. fashion industry; and 81 percent are concerned about rising costs but expect only moderate cost increases in 2014. The study also found that China will continue as the dominant supplier, but Vietnam and Asia as a whole are considered to have more growth potential; companies are not leaving Bangladesh, and they are committed to compliance; companies continue to diversify their sourcing and are looking at opportunities closer to as well as in the U.S.; current FTAs and preference programs are still underutilized or do not represent a main component of respondents’ sourcing; and respondents support the passage or renewal of all future FTAs that intend to remove trade barriers and facilitate international trade in the industry.

July/August 2014