How to increase your chances of exporting apparel to Europe

Are you a manufacturer of sportswear, bodywear, babywear, workwear, leather accessories, adaptive apparel, sustainable cotton or recycled fashion? Do you want to export to Europe? CBI has published 8  reports about these fashion items. They are full of valuable trade data and inside information. This information will help you increase your chances of doing business with European buyers.

The reports are on sportswear, bodywear, babywear, workwear, leather fashion accessories, adaptive apparel, sustainable cotton and recycled fashion. These studies were written before the COVID-19 outbreak.

Europe is a strong market for each of these apparel items. For example, the European bodywear market has a total import value of €14.6 billion and a 5-year average growth of 4.4%. Leather fashion accessories have €8.6 billion in import value and a 5-year average growth of 7.5%. Sportswear is the biggest market with a total import value of €19.5 billion and a 5-year average growth of 10.1%.

Learning from the biggest exporters

For most apparel items and accessories, France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Spain are the largest and thus among the most interesting markets. The CBI reports look at which countries are currently the largest exporters of apparel to these European countries and why. Is it their high-quality workmanship, low prices, fast delivery or good communication? Each report contains a description of the countries you are competing with and their strengths and weaknesses. This will make it easier to determine your Unique Selling Points and your sales strategy.

Getting your product ready for export

Each report has an overview of all the requirements you need to meet before you can start exporting apparel to Europe. These requirements can be both legal and non-legal. Well-known legal requirements are, for example, REACH and the EU’s product safety directive. Non-legal requirements may be sustainable production and social compliance standards. BSCI and SA8000 are examples of non-legal requirements. Most European buyers also appreciate special product designs, innovation and fast delivery. They also value flexibility in order quantities.

The most interesting market segments

The next step is to decide which sales channels are most interesting for you. On average, European luxury brands and retailers require extremely high-quality design, materials and workmanship. They also have relatively low order quantities. For the budget markets, this is exactly the opposite. Middle markets are somewhere in between. Each CBI report describes the market segments and interesting sales channels for your product. The report also looks at companies that dominate the European market.

A challenge that keeps coming up for many apparel manufacturers is calculating a fair price. The reports explain how you should break down your Free on Board (FOB)-price, including costs for materials, labour and profit. You will also learn how European retail prices for many apparel items are determined. On average, the retail price of an apparel item is 4-8 times the FOB-price. For many apparel items, France has the highest retail prices, followed by the Netherlands, Italy and Germany.

This news article was written on behalf of CBI by FT Journalistiek.

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