Decorated Apparel Market
While there is no publicly available information to fully answer the question, we've used available data to pull together key findings that the most common raw materials used in decorated apparel are cotton and polyester. Below is an outline of our research strategies to better understand why the information requested is publicly unavailable, as well as a deep dive into our findings.
- In the global decorated apparel industry, embroidery holds a 44.7% market share, while screen printing is 33.32% and dye, direct to garment printing and other is 7.33%.
- 84% of apparel decorators offer embroidery, 74% heat transfer, 69% screen printing, 64% vinyl letters/designs and 52% patches/emblems.
- Growth in the decorated apparel industry is being driven by womenswear, which is currently 65% of the market.
- For the entire global textile industry, cotton has the largest market share at 39.47% by volume. Polyester comprises 28.04% of all global textile production by volume.
- It is reasonable to assume that cotton, polyester and rayon are major materials used in the decorated apparel industry, as these are the top three materials used for shirts, and shirts are, by far, the most common garment used for decorated apparel. Among all other garment types, other common fibers would include wool (used for hats), bamboo, spandex, microfiber, nylon, Gore-Tex, nylon and neoprene (all used in sports apparel).
Our first approach was to find the break down of the decorated apparel industry by garment material or type, enabling us to dig further into how the industry then segments by raw material. After perusing dozens of market research reports and summaries, it quickly became apparent that this information was not readily available in the public domain. Much data for this industry was locked behind expensive paywalls, as it appears this level of detail is quite specific and niche. The only segmentation that was more available was that of the industry by technique. We found one report that revealed the market share of decorated apparel by embroidery, screen printing and dye/D2G printing/other.
We then thought it might be possible to use this segmentation to make some assumptions and estimations about garment material. Embroidery has the largest market share at 44.7% of the total industry. Embroidery is most commonly done on shirts, hats, sweatshirts and bags. We know from the Early Findings that shirts and sweatshirts tend to be cotton or poly-cotton blends, hats are usually made from wool or a poly-wool blend and bags are usually a canvas polyester. We then looked for market research on some of these garment types, to see if we could make some assumptions to translate across the entire decorated apparel industry. However, no break down of these garment types was available by raw material.
Screen printing comprises 33.32% of the decorated apparel market. Screen printing is mostly commonly used on t-shirts, sweatshirts and polos. Screen printing is apparently best done on more natural fibers, so it stands to reason that again cotton would be the dominant raw material for screen printed items.
Heat transfer decoration is done almost exclusively on t-shirts, so, again, the main materials used for this segment are going cotton and polyester. Direct-to-garment printing is also done almost exclusively on t-shirts (tanks included as a sub-set).
According to one apparel decorator, rayon should also be considered as a common raw material, as cotton/poly/rayon blend t-shirts have become quite popular.