January 1, 2021
Fashion & Apparel Textiles

The Ultimate List of Digital Sourcing Statistics for the Textile and Apparel Industry 2021

Jorgen Sevild
Chief Growth Officer

Navigating the ever-changing landscape of the technological developments in the textiles industry can be challenging. To stay ahead, it's essential to keep an eye on digital sourcing insights and statistics. In this summary, we've collected the most vital metrics and statistics from Material Exchange's 2021 Digital Sourcing Market Report to help you understand your position in the industry and make informed decisions.

What is Digital Material Sourcing?

Digital sourcing is transforming the fashion industry by streamlining the processes of discovering, developing, and delivering products. By digitising materials, employing 3D design tools in product development, and presenting products in virtual showrooms, digital sourcing paves the way for more efficient and innovative approaches.

Material Exchange’s 2021 Digital Sourcing Market Report offers valuable insights into the current state of apparel and fashion supply chains, specifically what the changes were pre- and post-COVID. 

The Digital Sourcing Statistics

Sampling Insights:

  • Did you know that 45% of buyers spend €10,000 (US$11,900) on physical samples per year?
  • Almost half (49%) of suppliers spend over €10,000 on physical samples annually.
  • Interestingly, only 10% of suppliers showcase their samples in 3D.

The Digitalization Imperative:

  • A substantial 72% of buyers consider digitalization crucial for success.
  • Meanwhile, 62% of suppliers also believe digitalization is critical.
  • A significant 78% of buyers now request sustainable materials from suppliers.

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How Suppliers Present Materials:

  • 31% of suppliers send samples to communicate new material collections.
  • 30% of suppliers utilise trade shows to showcase their new material collections.
  • 23% of suppliers employ supplier presentations to display new material collections.
  • 14% of suppliers leverage digital showrooms/platforms for presenting new material collections.
  • Surprisingly, only 2% of suppliers use in-person meetings with buyers to showcase new material collections.

Online Material Presentation:

  • Fewer than 10% of suppliers showcase materials in 3D online.
  • 86% rely on 2D, flatbed scans, and photography to display materials.

Preferred Sales Channels:

  • Among suppliers, trade shows reign as the most popular sales channel.

Skills and Experience Matter:

  • 16% of respondents boast highly experienced marketing teams, while 40% have moderate experience, 39% have low experience, and 19% have no marketing experience.
  • 5% of respondents have highly experienced Product Lifecycle Managers, 24% have moderate experience, 18% have low experience, and 22% have no experience.
  • 11% of suppliers have team members highly skilled in listing materials digitally, 28% have moderate capabilities, 36% have low experience, and 22% have no experience.
  • Among suppliers working with 3D materials, only 0.6% are highly skilled, while 11.5% are moderately skilled, 29% have little experience, and 31% have none at all.

Digitalization Trends Among Buyers:

  • 15% of respondents use Substance Alchemist for 3D material scans or visuals.
  • 35% of respondents utilise Substance Designer for the same purpose.
  • 27% of respondents opt for Vizoo for 3D material scans or visuals.
  • 8% of respondents choose Unity Art Engine for this task.

Buyers' Preference:

  • 30% of buyers frequently source materials digitally.
  • Almost half (47%) of buyers incorporate 3D software within their teams.
  • 21% of buyers use CLO3D, while 11% use Adobe Substance, Browzwear, or Rhinoceros.
  • When it comes to repeat business, 34% of buyers prefer direct methods, and 18% prefer trade shows.

Unique Selling Propositions:

  • An impressive 98% of suppliers can provide sustainable options.
  • 26% of suppliers regard quality as their primary USP.
  • 18% of buyers consider price as an essential deciding factor.

Brands and suppliers are increasingly adopting 3D and virtual technologies for product development, presentation, and marketing. While disruptive innovations may take time to permeate the entire industry, investing in these tools is worth considering. With momentum building, the shift toward digital product creation and presentation is undeniably on the horizon. Stay ahead by embracing these transformative advancements.

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