Apparel Top 10 Themes for 2022 – Thematic Research

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Top Apparel Themes Report Overview

In 2022, the major themes impacting the apparel sector were supply chain management, geopolitics, ESG – environmental, virtual, and augmented reality, ESG – social, e-commerce, COVID-19, digital media, mobile, and the future of work.

Top Themes Driving Growth in the Apparel Sector, 2022

Top Themes Driving Growth in the Apparel Sector, 2022

For more insights on the major themes impacting the apparel industry, download a free report sample

The apparel top 10 themes research report identifies the top 10 themes that will impact the apparel industry in 2022. For each theme, the report also offers a series of predictions and aids in identifying winners and losers. Our thematic research ecosystem is a single, integrated global research platform that provides an easy-to-use framework for tracking all themes across all companies in all sectors.

Major Themes Supply Chain Management, Geopolitics, ESG – Environmental, Virtual & Augmented Reality, ESG – Social, E-commerce, COVID-19, Digital Media, Mobile, and the Future of Work
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Supply Chain Management

Supply chains became a major talking point in retail in 2021 as supply struggled to keep up with demand due to a myriad of factors, leading to spiraling inflation rates. The closure of factories and ports in China due to the country’s zero-COVID policy had an impact on the global flow of goods, with both manufacturing and transportation affected. This caused shipping times and costs to increase drastically, especially from East Asia to North America, with some retailers such as Lululemon and Old Navy resorting to using air freight to help increase stock levels for the 2021 golden quarter, though this will have significant implications for the retailers’ carbon emissions. The apparel supply chain is now facing additional pressures from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, predominantly due to the resultant higher gas, energy, and oil prices.


Various geopolitical trends have affected economies in the past ten years, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the end of February 2022 the biggest crisis in Europe in recent years. Beyond this conflict, China has emerged as a superpower, disrupting the status quo, and others such as India and Brazil are rapidly growing and will challenge the traditional major economies. Globalization and immigration are hotly contested issues, and how such affairs play out will impact the way companies conduct their business; and trade wars, such as between the US and China, affect the tariffs paid by retailers, with costs potentially being passed on to consumers.

Virtual & Augmented Reality

Since Facebook changed its name to Meta in October 2021, conversations surrounding the possibilities that the metaverse could bring to the apparel industry have skyrocketed. At present, the future of the metaverse in the global apparel market remains undecided. However, new technological developments are opening doors to significant commercial potential, and opportunities have started to appear for brands to claim their space in the metaverse. Brands are currently experimenting with virtual apparel through augmented and virtual reality, gamification, and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).


GlobalData breaks down the top 10 themes impacting the apparel sector in 2022.

Reasons to Buy

  • Themes are disruptive, so it’s easy to be blindsided by industry outsiders who invade your sector. Understanding the themes ecosystem will get you ahead of the curve.
  • Understand the themes emerging in 2022, allowing you to grasp a wider view of changes in consumer behavior and how they will impact your markets.
  • Explore how emerging themes in apparel are allowing industry leaders to evolve, so you can better position yourself for long-term success.
  • An easy-to-use framework for tracking themes across all companies in all sectors.
  • Companies who invest in the right themes become success stories; those who miss the big themes end up as failures.

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Table of Contents

Executive summary

2022 Theme Map

Supply Chain Management


ESG – Environmental

Virtual and Augmented Reality

ESG – Social



Digital Media


The Future of Work

Future Reading

Our thematic research methodology

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