Over the past few years, kids apparel has shown escalating market development. The kidswear market has been growing, diversifying, and has quickly become one of the global fashion industry’s key drivers.
This article will explore what is driving growth in the kidswear market. We will analyze the global children’s apparel market, looking at the current market size, segment distribution, and projected market growth. The article will then offer a buying guide with the key kids/tweens’ fashion trends to look out for for the spring/summer 2023 fashion cycle.
What is driving growth in the kidswear market?
Kidswear encompasses apparel worn by children who are under the age of 12. Most children’s apparel is made from materials, such as cotton, that reduce the risk of dermatitis in children. When buying children’s clothes, the most important factors that parents consider are safety, comfort, as well as convenience.
The combination of an increased labor force and increased disposable income has been one of the major factors driving the market growth. Some other factors driving growth include increasing product customization, affordable pricing, and innovation in kidswear across the globe. Some countries have also seen an increasing number of newborns and this has driven up demand for kidswear with increased consumption from parents.
It has also become popular to promote children’s clothing on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, and this has boosted demand as many parents are exposed to kidswear products online. This growing influence of social media has also been accompanied by celebrity and influencer culture, which is encouraging parents to seek out the latest children’s apparel trends.
Overview of the global children’s apparel market
Reports show that in 2018, the market value for global infant and toddler apparel was estimated at US$ 169 billion. The market is projected to reach US$ 239 billion by 2023, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.7%.
With regard to the two main segments, girls’ wear is expected to reach US$ 132.3 billion, and boys’ wear is set to grow at a CAGR of 2.8%, by the end of the 2022–2027 forecast period.
When it comes to geographical distribution, the US market is expected to reach US$ 78 billion in 2022, and the China market is projected to reach US$ 68.8 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 6.7% over the forecast period.
10 top kids/tweens fashion trends to look out for
1. Hooded windbreaker
Practical and functional items are set to lead the way during the S/S 23 cycle, and hooded windbreakers are a key part of this. When it comes to outerwear, shoppers consider packability, waterproofing, and windproofing.
Matching sets are also making strides in the outerwear sector, with windbreakers being paired with casual bottoms, shorts, and warm-weather accessories such as bucket hats. Tie-dye techniques can also be used on windbreakers, producing hazy textures and distorted dye effects that make for great gender-inclusive options.
The windbreakers can also have cinching features, allowing for a more snug fit at the waist and hem. This also enables fitting for a wider range of body types. Retailers can go for designs with elasticated tunnels that can be easily removed when repairing or recycling the windbreaker.
2. Graphic sweatshirt
The graphic sweatshirt remains a key part of fashion trends for the S/S 23 cycle. It aligns with the elevated basics trend, with subtle updates and a bit of volume.
Retailers can stock options with simple features such as mock collars or additional seam detailing that gives the sweatshirt a more premium feel while keeping costs reasonable. The drop-shoulder versions offer a roomy fit for a more relaxed look.
Some designs incorporate delicate color-blocking by adding stripes and chevron patterns. Soft-color combinations, such as mid-tone brights and pastels, update the look and make it work across multiple seasons.
3. Drop-shoulder tee
T-shirts are core fashion staples that are in line with the shift toward collection essentials, featuring boxier fits and pared-back silhouettes.
Drop-shoulder tees fit this aesthetic well because of their simple, boxy shapes. The drop-shoulder design and cropped length can also cater to consumers looking for gender-inclusive children’s apparel.
Drop-shoulders tees are also aligned with other trends, such as the graphic-tee trend with anime graphics, which are growing in popularity in both the US and the UK. Other hip designs include graphics celebrating hip-hop’s 50th anniversary, which will fall in 2023.
To offer a premium look, retailers can stock drop-shoulder tees made from textured materials, such as slub jersey and toweling. This can be combined with minimalist designs and graphics.
4. Boho blouse
The Boho blouse has wide appeal and taps into the retro prints and patterns trends. It offers timeless appeal and has high resale potential.
When it comes to woven tops, the Boho blouse is one of the most popular in this category for girls, as it complements a wide range of bottoms. For cross-merchandising and easier coordination, retailers can stock matching sets that come with simple drawstring bottoms.
Some other great options include handcrafted horticulture and sketchbook-themed wildflower prints that use old-age techniques like wood blocking. Designs with statement collars give the woven blouses a crafted and playful feel.
5. Resort shirt
The retro resort shirt is a perennial favorite that has casual and kitschy appeal. It is also becoming a popular option for holiday-ready gender-inclusive apparel.
Retailers can stock both the stand-alone resort shirt or resort sets with matching bottoms. The statement prints can bring a fresh take to tropical themes by adding hazy scenes that give a digitized feel to high-summer fashion.
Designs can also leverage local life in different regions for inspiration. For instance, the prints can capture the early-summer blooms of Stockholm or the unique and colorful patterns drawn from African heritage.
6. Sweater vest
The hype around crochet has been growing, and retailers can capitalize on this through the sweater vest. It is a lower-cost alternative to the cardigan or sweater while maintaining the statement preppy look.
Gen Z kids are adopting this trend because the knitted vest is a key wardrobe piece that can work across seasons and for a variety of themes, including the new-prep, hype-golf, and noughties-nostalgia trends. Retailers can stock statement crochets that add a homemade touch or “crafted” appeal to the vest.
Sweater vests can be worn on their own or they can be layered during cooler months. For a minimalist look, consumers can go for popcorn patterns or simple cables that come in solid colors.
7. Puff-sleeve dress
The puff-sleeve dress takes cues from the occasion-dress trend, which showcases effortless silhouettes that girls can easily dress up or down.
As people in most parts of the world are now able to go to parties and get-togethers in the post-lockdown era, there is a lot of excitement for occasionwear. Pieces that offer wearers versatility will be more popular. The puff-sleeve dress is perfect for kids/tweens because it is a smart-casual dress that puts comfort first.
Retailers can stock versions with exaggerated detailing, such as statement collars and oversized puff-sleeves. Materials such as sheers, textured wovens, or broderie anglaise will add style without embellishments.
8. Matching set
The matching set can be used as a tool for circular innovation as retailers can opt for versions that use regenerative materials. To highlight the natural qualities of the sustainable fibers used for the matching sets, versions with textures, such as puckers, slubs, and pulls, would be ideal.
9. Relaxed trouser
Relaxed trousers are designed with roomy shapes that counter skinny silhouettes as comfort is the main focus. They draw inspiration from wide-leg trousers popular in adult fashion, but this preference for loose flare is now making strides in the youth fashion market.
10. Minimalist overall
The classic overall is a timeless favorite. The S/S 23 version of this look has micro-crafted updates that come in the form of stitch details and minimalist graphics. Core shapes for this clothing will continue to be driven by comfort, as seen in the knitted options that are on the rise.
Overalls are highly versatile fashion pieces that align with multiple trends, including stay-home styles that are soft and lightweight, and outdoor-exploration and never-ending summer styles that are more outdoorsy and have feel-good nostalgia.
Keeping up with kidswear
To keep kidswear both fashionable and functional, retailers should go for stripped-back designs that are affordable but have small details that enhance the clothing. As income insecurity rises among many populations across the globe, consumers are looking for apparel for their children that is great-looking without breaking the bank.
As retailers prepare their product catalogs for S/S 23, they should consider stocking the following pieces, which will see an up-trend in kids/tweens fashion:
- Hooded windbreakers
- Graphic sweatshirts
- Drop-shoulder tees
- Boho blouses
- Resort shirts
- Sweater vests
- Puff-sleeve dresses
- Matching sets
- Relaxed trousers
- Minimalist overalls
Discover playful baby and toddler fashion trends for autumn/winter 2022–23 here.