Fashion Products in 2021: World Trade Recovery still Unable to Close the Gap with 2019


Fashion Great Lockdown Conjuncture Global economic trends

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World trade of fashion items fell in 2020, to then just partially recover over the current year

2020 represented a "perfect storm" for the global economy.
As for the Fashion industry, world trade recorded a fall of about 15% in euro last year, dropping below the threshold of €1000 billion. The recovery highlighted during the current year appears significant, but only partial: the latest pre-estimates formulated by StudiaBo for the ExportPlanning Information System show, in fact, a YoY growth rate close to 12%. According to our estimates, the current year is about to end around €1098 billion for the global trade of fashion items - still below the 2019 threshold (€1153 billion).

Only the perfumes and cosmetics sector shows a full recovery to pre-pandemic levels; jewelry and watches appear as the most delayed in their upward trajectory

Within the Fashion industry, 2021 pre-consensus results show world trade still significantly below its pre-pandemic levels for Jewelry and Watches (with a gap greater than 20% compared to 2019) and, albeit to a lesser extent, for Underwear and Hosiery (-8.6% compared to 2019) and Bags, Luggage and Wallets (-7.4% compared to 2019).

Still in negative territory, when comparing with 2019, is world trade in Footwear (-4.5% at pre-consensus 2021), Lenses and Eyewear (-3.3%) and Outerwear (-3.2%).

The main sector that is, on the other hand, in positive territory when comparing it with 2019 is the Perfumes and Cosmetics cluster: estimates of 2021 world trade flows for the sector mark a 6% increase compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Main sectors of the Fashion-industry: world trade trends
2020 / 2019 2021 / 2020 2021 / 2019
Sector changes
Underwear and Hosiery -16.0% +8.8% -8.6%
Outerwear -10.8% -8.6% -3.2%
Bags, Suitcases and Wallets -18.1% +13.0% -7.4%
Footwear -14.2% +11.3% -4.5%
Perfumes and Cosmetics -6.6% +13.5% +6.0%
Lenses and Eyewear -13.1% +11.3% -3.3%
Jewelry and Watches -32.1% +14.5% -22.3%
Source: ExportPlanning - Ulisse Database

The analysis of the 2021 results of the Fashion industry's world trade shows, therefore, an ongoing recovery path that appears, in almost all cases, still to be completed with reference to the levels recorded before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
2022 is expected to lead to a full recovery: according to the forecast scenario formulated by StudiaBo within the ExportPlanning Information System1, next year the world trade of Fashion products is expected to gain about 6 percentage points, reaching the level of €1161 billion.

1) See in this regard our Forecast Database, freely available at industry level (e.g. the Fashion industry) for registered users of the ExportPlanning platform.