NEW YORK — Cotton claimed 47.2 percent of the women’s apparel market in 1995, up from 45.6 percent the year before, a consumer research study has found, sparked by increases in the shirt, dress and sweat apparel categories.
That helped to grow cotton’s share of the overall apparel and home fabrics market, excluding carpet, to 58 percent in 1995, up from 56 percent in 1994. It was the 15th consecutive yearly increase for cotton on a fabric weight basis.
The study was conducted for Cotton Incorporated by the NPD Group, a market research firm.
Cotton’s market share for women’s shirts rose to 62.1 percent from 58.7 percent; for dresses, 33.6 percent from 28.5 percent; for the sweat apparel market, 49.4 percent from 47.7 percent.
Use of cotton fiber garnered an even larger share in men’s apparel, to 73.2 percent from 71.1 percent. Categories that posted an annual rise included sports shirts, to 86.1 percent from 84.2 percent, and socks, to 66.6 percent from 63.4 percent. Cotton’s share of slacks and pants rse to 62.5 percent from to 58.3 percent, thanks to sales of wrinkle-resistant products and a trend toward upscale casual dressing.
Cotton grew in children’s wear to 59.1 percent from 57.5 percent. The fiber posted significant gains in girls’ dresses, rising to 60.7 percent from 58.3 percent, and in boys dress shirts, to 59.1 percent from 53.7 percent.
Cotton boosted its share of home fabrics as well. Sales of sheet sets rose to 61.1 percent from 59.3 percent, and blankets moved to 42.2 percent from 36.5 percent. Overall, cotton’s share of the home fabrics markets increased to 63 percent, a 1 percent increase over the previous year.
J. Nicholas Hahn, president and chief executive officer of Cotton Inc., noted that cotton’s market share growth came “during a difficult year at retail.”
On the marketing front, Cotton Inc. has established a World Wide Web site at Net surfers can access information on Cotton Inc., including the addresses and telephone numbers of its offices around the world, as well as Cotton’s monthly economic newsletter and information on cotton research. Visitors can also get news on new yarns, fabrics and dyeing and finishing treatments. A Fashion Service section includes a fabric library and information on apparel and home fabrics trends.

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