The Australian fashion sector offers exciting opportunities for British companies looking to export.
After several tough years in which the industry has experienced contraction, the fashion sector is now predicted to be moving towards recovery with positive growth predicted from 2013-18 with a strong focus on online retail.
According to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Fashion in Australia is a AU$14 billion industry. The climate of Australia’s fashion industry is undergoing a dynamic change with online shopping rapidly gaining popularity with Australian consumers.
In recent years, the Australian fashion sector has focused its attention on high value, capital intensive and niche products, shifting away from labour intensive, mass manufactured and standardised products.
With 48% of Australians making online fashion purchases in 2012, the internet is fast becoming Australia’s most popular shopping destination. This form of shopping provides British companies the opportunity to market in Australia without traditional bricks and mortar retailing.
Many Australians favour purchasing online for its convenience, value and ability to compare. Aided by the relatively strong Australian dollar and the exclusion of tax on imported items under AU$1000, more Australians are purchasing from international sites.
Australian women are increasingly spending a higher proportion of their disposable income on clothing and footwear. Moreover, there is a steady shift towards the quality and uniqueness of their clothing purchases and in turn investing more on mid-price and high-price niche items.
Australian males are spending a far greater amount on high-end and luxury brands. It is anticipated that this segment will continue to grow and expand in the coming years. This provides British businesses with a unique opportunity to explore an up-and-coming market and potentially capitalise on a growing segment of the fashion sector.
Children’s and infant clothing has experienced exponential growth in Australia over the past five years, growing faster than the industry average. This has been attributed to the number of older first-time parents with disposable incomes and financial stability.
The introduction of major international flagship stores such as Zara, Topshop and Gap has been warmly welcomed by the Australian consumer market, demonstrating the Australian consumer’s appetite for foreign brands.
The future of the Australian fashion industry lies in niche markets, innovation, technology and new designs.
Getting into the market
The majority of Australia’s population is concentrated within New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, thus these states also home the largest concentration of fashion establishments. However, those residing in the Australian Capital Territory remain the greatest spenders on fashion; reflective of average incomes. In order to minimize transport costs, wholesalers have also focused their store locations in these central areas.
A key trend anticipated to emerge in 2013 is a rise in the amount of manufacturers and suppliers bypassing retailers and engaging directly with customers, with more brands establishing their own stores, pop-up stores and websites.
It is critically important to choose the most appropriate distribution channel when entering the Australian market. British businesses should not dismiss the power and reach of online retailing. Online retailing provides extensive benefits particularly to those new to the Australian market.
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists in country – or contact your local international trade team.
Joanna Olivera, Trade Development Manager
Tel: +61 2 8247 2212
Brooke Silvers, Trade Development Officer
Tel: +61 2 8247 2241
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.