Market Share in the Apparel Industry

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In the apparel industry, market share is used as a benchmarking tool.
In the apparel industry, market share is used as a benchmarking tool. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Market share expresses the proportion of a company's sales of a good or service in a specific market against the total sales by all companies offering the product or service to the same market. Market share analysis is frequently used in performance assessment. To establish the overall market share figure for a company in the apparel industry, total sales figures for the period measured is needed for both the specific company, as well as for the apparel industry as a whole.

Overall Market Share

A company's market share can be developed against overall apparel market sales or within various apparel market segments. For instance, total annual retail apparel sales for 2010 across all segments in the U.S. was $192.73 billion, according to a February 2011 market research report issued by The NPD Group, Inc. This number would be the baseline figure used by a U.S. company when calculating its overall market share, or proportion, of 2010 annual sales.

Industry Segmentation

Women's clothing, kids' clothing, bridal wear and intimate apparel are examples of apparel industry market segments, or classifications. The North American Industry Classification System is the standard market classification system used by statistical reporting agencies for the U.S. market. A company calculates its market share for a particular North American Industry Classification System classification, or market segment, by first finding the system's code for a specific category of apparel sales. The company then needs the apparel industry sales figures and company sales figures specifically for that particular category. Sales summaries for the apparel industry is available by North American Industry Classification System category from the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Industrial Report. These reports can be downloaded into spreadsheets for quantitative analysis.

Manufacturers' Market Share

The Annual Survey of Manufactures develops sample statistical estimates for manufacturing organizations — including apparel manufacturers — with one or more paid employees. The ASM/CIR Product Class Comparability Table includes apparel industry data for manufacturing firms. Annual Survey of Manufactures manufacturing data includes statistics such as shipment value, inventories and operating expenses, which can be used by manufacturing companies to develop market share information.

Market Research Reports

Calculation of market share information within the apparel industry can be a complex task. One of the biggest challenges is securing reliable industry data. There are a number of commercial industry reports developed by professional market research agencies at a cost. The Renssealaer Polytechnic Institute developed its Textiles, Apparel & Footwear Industry Data Finder to assist parties seeking reliable apparel industry market research reports, such as Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys for the apparel and textile industries.

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