In Austria, digital and sustainable fashion comes first

 Although Austria is a mature market and smaller in size than others, the local retail sector offers great opportunities for brands that can identify and cater to a specific niche. Clothing sales grew to 8 billion euros in 2015, up 1.5% on the previous year, rising by 9.4% in the last five years.And the sector is expected to continue its rise in the next years, reaching 9 billion euros by 2020, according to Euromonitor.

Forecasts are showing a mixed picture for local manufacturers, however. In the five years to 2015, the Austrian textile manufacturing sector declined by 7.7%, while imports increased by 28.6% to 4.8 billion euros.The most popular clothing products in Austria are outerwear and underwear, accounting for 70% of the country’s clothing sales, while importers spent in 2016 the most on outerwear, underwear, shirts and tops, representing 86% of all clothing imports.China and Germany are the country’s biggest clothing suppliers, each taking a 20% share of imports.Icex analysts believe the upward trend in imports will continue over the next few years, as the high purchasing power of Austrian consumers continues to attract new brands into the market. Austrian consumers have a per capita income of 39,400 euros, showing the fourth strongest figure in the EU. Last year, Austrian families spent 5.7% of their money on clothes and shoes.The report has also found that consumers prefer sustainable brands and are increasingly prioritizing labels with ethical supply chains, fair working conditions and low environmental impact.Some 31% of Austrian consumers consider sustainability to be a determining factor when making a purchasing decision and 15% said they are willing to pay more for products that come from companies who are committed to low environmental impact.Additionally, consumers are increasingly shopping online. In 2014, e-commerce accounted for 19% of all clothing sales and the fashion sector now reports the largest online revenue in the country.Icex estimates the domestic market is made up of some 7,500 online shops and 4 million online consumers. English version by Barbara Santamaria 

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