Apparel industry profile
The apparel manufacturing industry comprises of establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing clothing and clothing accessories, including establishments that knit clothing from yarn, and manufacture clothing from knit fabrics.
Primary product lines include fashion clothing; occupational clothing; technical outerwear; survival wear; active wear; foundation garments; tourism-related goods; backpacking and camping products; gloves; hats and caps; hosiery; and knitted goods. Technical textile has become an important contributor in the advancement of new apparel products for protection against external influences and for safety in the military, defence and security markets.
The North American Classification System (NAICS) code for this industry is 315—Clothing Manufacturing. This industry includes the following sub-sectors:
- 3151—Clothing Knitting Mills
- 3152—Cut and Sew Clothing Manufacturing
- 3159—Clothing Accessories and Other Clothing Manufacturing
|Economic Indicators||2011||2012||2013||2014||2015||% Change
Sources: Trade Data Online; Statistics Canada
|Gross Domestic ProductFootnote 1||1,338.2||1,243.2||1,149.0||1,208.5||1,100.1||-9.0%||-4.8%|
|Apparent Domestic Market||10,616.8||10,518.8||11,107.2||12,040.2||13,079.3||8.6%||5.4%|
|Domestic Market Share||14.8%||13.2%||9.9%||9.0%||4.8%||-4.2%||-2.5%|
|Manufacturing Intensity RatioFootnote 2||47.5%||47.0%||48.6%||47.2%||46.0%||-1.2%||-0.4%|
|Labour ProductivityFootnote 2||55.9||54.9||54.3||62.1||55.6||-10.4%||-0.2%|
The apparel manufacturing industry exhibited negative growth in GDP and shipments between 2011 and 2015, even though domestic demand for apparel goods has increased. Shipments decreased at an average annual rate of 4.0% or by $427 million since 2011. GDP decreased at an annual average rate of 4.8% or by $238 million since 2011. The total value of apparel made in Canada continues to decrease while apparel imports continue to increase. Since 2011, apparel imports have increased by $3.4 billion or 8.3% annually (average) to total $12.5 billion in 2015. Between 2010 and 2014, the total number of establishments contracted by approximately 12% or 199 establishments. In 2015, approximately 20,000 employees were employed in the sector.
Trends in the industry
Some large firms that have off-shored their apparel production to control costs are also operating short run and replenishment facilities in Canada in order to respond to fast changing trends in the retail industry (fast fashion), and to produce high-end apparel. Non-manufacturing, high value-added activities such as design, R&D, branding, merchandising, marketing, logistics, and distribution are generally still located in Canada
Canadian apparel manufacturing firms have increasingly moved towards niche markets, designing and producing high-end clothing, as well as speciality and high R&D garments including performance apparel such as sportswear and protective clothing. Lack of skilled labour is a key concern for Canadian apparel manufacturers.
To remain competitive on the global market, leading Canadian apparel manufacturers are adopting new technologies and automation throughout the supply chain. Digital technology adoption is increasing in the sector, which includes the development of an omnichannel or multichannel approach to sales. While still underdeveloped in Canada, Canadian apparel e-commerce sales are increasing.
Associations and other sites
- Apparel Connexion (formerly known as the Apparel Human Resources Council)
- Apparel Innovation Centre
- CTT Group
- The Canadian Apparel Federation (CAF)
- The Wilson School of Design
- Toronto Fashion Incubator
- Vestechpro (Apparel Research and Innovation Centre)
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