With major apparel companies ramping up efforts to expand presence within the country and abroad, the fashion market in South Korea is expected to grow 3.3 per cent this year. The size of the domestic fashion market is predicted to reach 39.3 trillion won in 2017, up from 38.3 trillion won estimated for last year says a report by the Samsung Fashion Institute.
This marks the fourth consecutive year of single-digit growth. The market expanded 11.8 per cent on-year in 2011. A grim outlook has prompted major apparel companies to revamp their strategies, bolstering overseas expansions and mergers as a way to brace against the slowing market.
E-land has been a leader among the players in entering foreign markets, currently running some 7,300 stores under its 44 different brands in China with solid revenues. The fashion division of Samsung C&T Corp., the de facto holding company of Samsung Group, and LF, the apparel affiliate of LG Group, have both tapped into Asia's biggest country.
Industry say companies need to come up with a fresh approach for overseas markets, as distinguished items are a key to success in the cutthroat environment where consumers are already swamped with ‘Louis Vuitton and Cartier’. According to the Korea International Trade Association, South Korea's apparel trade balance remained in a deficit, with exports reaching $1.89 billion and imports totalling $8.33 billion.