Price Forecast: Uniforms

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Recent Price Trend - Uniforms

The price of uniforms has been rising at an estimated annualized 0.7% in the three years to 2017, slightly hampering buyer power. Rising demand for uniforms has boosted prices, while falling raw material prices and stiff market competition have suppressed price growth.

Given that uniforms play an integral part of any business that desires to promote its brand name and image, strengthening business activity fuels demand for uniforms. In the past three years, improving economic conditions and rising consumer spending have encouraged businesses to expand their operations and hire more workers. With heightened foot traffic into their establishments, hotels, restaurants and retail shops have required more uniforms for their workers. Similarly, strengthening industrial production activity has facilitated demand for safety apparel as manufacturing companies have sought to provide their workers with adequate protection against hazards in the workplace. Meanwhile, demand for school uniforms has also picked up during the period. The rising popularity of school uniforms is partially attributed toward public schools’ efforts to reduce socioeconomic disparities, particularly in high-poverty areas. Furthermore, continual participation in sports, such as football and basketball, has supported demand for sports uniforms. Rising demand has allowed suppliers to increase uniform prices without risking loss of business.

Despite increasing demand, the falling prices of key inputs have prevented more rapid price growth of uniforms. Because most uniforms are made from polyester and cotton, any changes in the prices of these inputs can significantly impact supplier production costs and subsequent uniform prices. During the past three years, record stockpiles of cotton and the falling prices of crude oil, which is used as the primary material in synthetic fiber production, have been sending cotton and synthetic fiber prices downhill. In turn, decreasing raw material prices have alleviated some of the pressure on suppliers to raise uniform prices more substantially.

Moreover, the overall price volatility of uniforms has been minimal in the three years to 2017. Low price volatility is partially attributed to stiff market competition, which prevents suppliers from raising prices more dramatically to stay competitive. Overall, buyers benefit from minimal price volatility because they can make more informed purchasing decisions without having to worry about potential price spikes.


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