ReportsnReports - Apparel in Ukraine

14-Dec-2011 | News-Press Release

The recent economic recession noticeably affected the Ukraine apparel market. Almost all brands and product group sales in volume and value terms dropped except those of some premium brands which target consumers who are less sensitive to the impact of recession. In 2010, the apparel market started its way towards recovery due, according to national statistics, to recovering disposable incomes, growing consumer confidence and delayed purchases for more expensive products. Value sales were additionally boosted by increased prices and slow shifting towards modern retail. However, volume sales were still way below pre-crisis levels. Men’s apparel (underwear, outerwear and footwear) value sales showed the best performance in 2010, as its target audience was the most solvent.
Slow shift towards modern retail

Branded apparel remains expensive for a majority of Ukrainian consumers and low price remains very important to Ukrainians. Most people still purchase clothes at open markets, which is the biggest distribution channel for apparel, and second-hand stores are still very popular. The recent recession helped to hold strong positions for these retail channels. Despite that, modern retail is developing and the share of clothing and footwear specialist retailers gradually expanded over the review period at the expense of open markets, mainly thanks to citizens of large cities. Expansion of such outlets supported by promotional campaigns combined with general cultural westernisation underpins this switch.

State focuses on unofficial imports
During the review period, the majority of apparel in Ukraine was imported under various shadow schemes devoted to avoiding taxes. Most often, the value of imported goods was largely underestimated; for example, fashionable apparel was imported as second-hand goods during the process of customs declaration. Usually it was done with the knowledge of corrupt customs officers. Such schemes created a competitive advantage for illegal importers, stimulated corruption and lost the country huge amounts of unpaid taxes. In 2010, the State Customs Administration started changing its approach to unofficial proceedings during clearance, which in the long term should facilitate a more transparently functioning apparel market. However, it is not very likely that illegal import schemes will disappear in the short term.
Expansion of new apparel specialist brands slows down

The Ukrainian apparel specialist retailing market is far from saturated, which allows current operators to set high margins and at the same time keep a big share of price-sensitive consumers switching from shopping at the open markets. The main obstacles for new companies to enter the market are administrative barriers, industry’s opacity and poor logistics infrastructure. Imperfect legislation is a key factor, too: a great number of controlling bodies, sophisticated accounting paperwork requirements and unpredictable customs are amongst the main hampering factors. Additionally there are not enough modern shopping malls where retailers can open their outlets, a lack that has resulted in higher rental prices in existing ones. The economic recession caused large multinational brands to postpone expansion or entrance to Ukrainian market even more, which gave additional support for current players’ development. Despite that, there were some noticeable entrants in 2010 such as New Look and Finn Flarre, and GAP announced about plans to enter Ukraine in 2011.

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