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Challenges confront the global apparel industry in 2020

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Polarisation of manufacturers is continuing, with top class of large, well equipped manufacturers growing their market share at the expense of smaller suppliers. Domestic production in the US and in Europe is growing, but its market share is still very small. All of these trends are expected to continue in 2020. Another challenge is to reduce the environmental impact of clothing. Once improvements are made they must be communicated in the right way to consumers.

The supply chain needs to accelerate the transformation to a more demand driven model. That’s a prerequisite for improving the bottom line. The challenge is for buyers and manufacturers and their suppliers to build responsive, flexible and sustainable value chains that are able to deliver the right product in the right amount at the right time. This requires collaboration which in turn requires from buyers to look beyond cost, to be prepared to share part of the investment burden by forfeiting short term lower buyer prices for long term gains and to engage suppliers as strategic partners. It also requires an acceleration of implementation of the ample technology available to move the industry into the digital age.