• Document: The Apparel Industry in Australia 1
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December 2009 The Apparel Industry in Australia1 1. Executive Summary ................................................................................................................ 1 2. Market Entry............................................................................................................................ 1 3. Retail Channels....................................................................................................................... 4 4. Distribution Channels.............................................................................................................. 8 5. Market Resources................................................................................................................... 9 1. Executive Summary The Australian apparel market can be described as relatively small, competitive and well-serviced by domestic companies. Nonetheless, this market presents opportunities to Canadian business. Canada and Australia share similar cultures and lifestyle, for example, sports and the outdoors. This translates into similar fashion tastes and trends. Facing increasing pressure from inexpensive imports, competitive department stores and decreasing prices, Australian retailers are looking for new ways to compete. Some have differentiated by specializing and offering only a particular type of product, such as sportswear. Others sell exclusive product that cannot be found elsewhere. Most have moved to the mid- to high-end of the market. The boutique culture continues strong with consumers. Canadian firms have a strong reputation for quality and innovative design. They can take advantage of this highly fragmented industry. This can mean greater competition and easier access for new firms/brands. The favourable market presents opportunities in the mid- to high- end range where Canadian companies can fill a gap in the market or a retailer’s portfolio, or embody a trend (i.e., “green fashion”). In addition, custom duties for clothing imported into Australia are scheduled to be reduced from 17.5% to 10% as of January 1, 2010. A key point to bear in mind is the reversal of seasons: they are opposite to the Northern Hemisphere. As a result, fashion trends in Australia tend to lag by six months. 2. Market Entry 2.1 Market size The population of Australia is around 21 million people. The GDP of A$1.09 trillion is forecast to grow by 2% in 2010 2. Like Canada, Australia weathered the global financial crisis in a much better position than many other major economies due to its solid financial and banking systems. At the time of writing, the Australian dollar was strong against the Canadian dollar, with C$1 3 buying A$1.04. Increased purchasing power from a high Australian dollar, strong consumer 4 confidence and strong employment growth have all helped drive retail sales in recent years. In 2008, Australia imported more than C$4.2 billion of apparel, a 13% increase over 2007. Over 60% of the imports came from China. In the same year, Australia imported over C$5.3 million 1 The Government of Canada has prepared this report based on secondary sources of information. Readers should take note that the Government of Canada does not guarantee the accuracy of any of the information contained in this report, nor does it necessarily endorse the organizations listed herein. Readers should independently verify the accuracy and reliability of the information. 2 Australia Country Report. November 2009. Economist Intelligence Unit 3 Daily Exchange Rate, Bank of Canada, December 2, 2009 4 Clothing Retailing in Australia. October 16 2009. IBISWorld worth of clothing from Canada, a 10% increase over 2007. “Woven apparel” made up the largest 5 share. The size of Australia and the distance between major cities have created multiple small markets that vary in needs and preferences, based on climate and culture. The best selection of fashion and apparel can be found in the major urban centres where consumers are more likely and willing to buy better brands. As a result, most international brands are only found in the largest Australian cities and tourist areas such as the Gold Coast (which is a well known international tourist upmarket shopping destination). 2.2 Local Capabilities Australia is a competitive market. The strength and success of local brands and designers have been well able to compete successfully against high-profile imported and designer goods. Internationally, Australia is best known for its beachwear, bushwear (e.g. outback, outdoor clothing), urbanwear and high fashion. Currently there are over 5,000 fashion labels in Australia6 7 and more than 2,000 companies export fashion. 2.3 International Competition China domina

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