Europe is the undisputed leading region in the global hosiery market, accounting for the largest market share both in terms of value and volume sales. North America, regarded as one of the largest markets for hosiery exhibited a decline in hosiery sales in recent years. The recession and the inevitable slowdown in the market led to tighter budgets and lesser purchasing power among the consumers. The decline in sales is also attributed to increased durability of hosiery in addition to growing popularity of trousers over skirts. However in terms of sheer size, the European and North American markets continue to dominate the Hosiery market, accounting for a consolidated share of more than 65% of the global market. Among the regional markets, Asia-Pacific is forecast to trail-blaze ahead as the fastest growing hosiery market worldwide.
The largest performing segment of the hosiery industry Socks is steering ahead and expected to retain its lead. The segment accounts for the single largest share of the market at more than 60%. Tube socks, the dark horse of the lot ventured into the industry with a bang and are likely to outperform predecessors present in the market. In trouser socks, texture plays a vital role. To gain hold in the market manufacturers are offering new products that would infuse life into the sales of sheer hosiery range.
The global hosiery market is forecast to reach US$20.3 billion by 2015. The need for a trendy lifestyle and desire to pamper oneself with the 'best on offer', coupled with greater disposable incomes triggered a series of dramatic shifts in the hitherto traditional hosiery market.
The hosiery market is categorized into well-defined product segments such as socks, pantyhose, sheers, opaques, stockings, tights, leggings and several others. Women's hosiery dominates with over 80% of the hosiery products catering to the fairer sex. Today's market demands stress on factors such as 'shapes' and 'structure enhancement' of the hosiery worn. Competitive pricing in this respect plays a very important role in establishing the market positioning of a brand or company. Marketers and companies vie with each other in a fiercely competitive landscape to provide the best bargains and greater promotional discounts to customers. For effective brand acceptance and market penetration, manufacturers are now offering value-added 'multipack' products at throwaway prices. New collections available in the market range from graceful natural and classic styles to fascinating glitzy styles portraying latest fashion trend.
Technology has been one of the major factors resulting in a change in the hosiery business, particularly relating to the women's segment. In recent years, manufacturers have replaced their old machinery with latest, sophisticated machines. Mechanical knitting machines have given way to smaller, faster electronic knitting machines that are capable of equal or greater production. Changing lifestyles have also contributed to a sea change in the product offerings in the legwear industry. Hosiery manufacturers are trying hard to increase their market share in the fast growing teens market. Novel looks and attractive colors are the order of the day. Some of the latest industry fads for novel hosiery products include figure/body shaper products, anti cellulite and moisturizing pantyhose, footless and capri styles, low rise hosiery and several others
The women's sheer hosiery segment has been witness to a difficult period in the last few years, weighed down by slow growth and demand, particularly in the US. With a growing shift towards bare legs and trousers even for office purpose, the use of pantyhose declined considerably in recent years. However, market bounced back in the year 2006, and witnessed a continuous growth till recession brought about a marginal slack in sales. Currently, manufacturers of sheer hosiery are increasingly bringing their marketing focus on ethnic, plus size and generation Y consumers in an effort to boost sales and profits.
As leggings and footless Tights/Opaques become the hot rage, legwear sales spiral northwards. Tights are being readily used for dance, exercise or as a ready-to-wear fashion accessory. Color is a key determinant in the sales of solid alternative legwear, especially for tights. Opaque leggings in rainbow patterns are dominant in high-fashion brands and accessories. Despite a relatively smaller market size in the overall hosiery market, the segment is primed to grow at a comparatively faster growth rate through 2015.
The report titled Hosiery (Womens & Mens): A Global Strategic Business Report provides a comprehensive review of market trends, growth drivers, product profile, market share data, competition, new product introductions, recent industry activity, and profiles of market players worldwide. Analysis is presented for major geographic markets such as United States, Canada, Japan, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Rest of World. Market analytics are provided in terms of dollar (value) and pairs (volume) for product segments including Socks, Sheer Hosiery, and Tights/Opaques. The study also presents historic data for an insight into market evolution over the period 2000 through 2006.
The highly competitive and volatile hosiery market is dominated by a select large players fiercely vying for a larger share of the pie. Major market participants include Golden Lady SpA, Kayser-Roth, Gold Toe-Moretz, LLC, Hanesbrands, Inc, LVMH, Donna Karan International, Wolford, Tefron USA, HCI Direct Inc, Grupo Synkro, Triumph Apparel Corporation and CSP International SpA. The market is characterized by the presence of a strong private label segment. The manufacturers not only face cut throat competition from their domestic counterparts, but the fight against cheap foreign imports is forcing many players to shut shop.
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