France

France is perhaps the single most influential flagship market for women’s apparel. It is home to the brands that set the trends and drive fashion – Chanel, Hermès, Dior (LVMH group), Louis Vuitton (LVMH group), Céline, Chloé and many others. Long the home of design movements that shape fashion consciousness, France, and Paris in particular, is a design beacon that draws the best.

France is also a leader in the heritage craftsmanship that marks its products. Recent decades may have seen international competition, but this has just prompted France to innovate. Today, the yin and yang of tradition and modernisation of the French fashion industry has led to a merger of centuries-old French culture and tradition with the need for economic performance.

Manufacturers and brands have managed to gain traction abroad as well. In 2012 the export of French ready-to-wear womenswear brands showed an increase of 3.4% in value overall. New women's fashion market for French exports in China currently represents 9.4% of export. French exports also show improvements in the United Kingdom where French fashion purchases increased by 10% in 2012. Other major customers outside the EEC show increases in the United States (8.9%) and Hong Kong (5.8%).

MARKET SIZE

  • In 2011 France’s population was estimated to be 63.1 million with expected year-on-year growth of 0.5% into 2016. Looking at France’s age demographics there is an increasing population in the 40 years and over age group, with the 60+ age group increasing the most at 2.1% for the next 3 years.  
  • Despite the economic difficulties, France as a brand has always attracted customers from around the world to its high fashion. Ready-to-wear clothing and more general consumption also maintains a good level.
  • The annual turnover of the fashion market and ready-to-wear in France is 41 billion euros (IFM source 2014). The total clothing retail value is forecast to grow at an average 0.2% year-on-year into 2016.

INSIGHTS

  • The sense of fashion, interest in style and fashion stores are centred on Paris; the south of the country near the Riviera (Cannes, Nice, Saint Tropez); and near the English Channel or Atlantic coasts in cities like Deauville and Biarritz.
  • Popular emerging trends are websites dedicated to the sale of designer brands at low prices or second hand. Vintage clothing stores (experiencing major development in the past two years), and famous designers creating capsule collections for retailers like H&M are gaining popularity.

OPPORTUNITY FOR WOOL

  • Most French consumers spend higher amounts on good quality tailoring and material in order to achieve the classic French style, which is simple yet elegant.
  • Neutral colours are worn with minimal make-up, with accessories such as high-class handbags and sunglasses used to freshen looks. The Parisian style is classical, while in the south there is a more colourful and bright clothing influence to suit the warmer climate. The stylish Parisienne does not let herself be defined by a particular brand of heel, bag, hair colour or lipstick. La Parisienne is a style, a mood, an attitude.
  • There has also been an increase in the number of consumers keen to view classic clothes as an investment piece with a long lifespan if cared for properly.