EU’s real price of clothing fell 36% in 16 years

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The real price of clothing for Europeans fell by 36% between 1996 and 2012.

According to an EEA (European Environmental Agency) estimate, between 1996 and 2012, the price of clothing increased by 3% but consumer prices in general rose about 60%. Given that about 5% of household expenses in Europe was on apparel & footwear, this meant that relative to the EU consumption basket, the price of clothing fell by 36% during this period. This fall in real price could also have been a factor for the steep increase in apparel purchase in EU during this period.

The outsourcing of manufacturing of apparel and fashion to low-cost countries such as China. Vietnam and India would have definitely played a role in this reduction. At the same time, one wonders if such low prices would be possible once these countries are forced to put in a lot more systems and solutions in order to ensure environmental sustainability and worker safety (especially after the Rana Plaza disaster).

A fall in prices almost certainly means an increase in demand; perhaps this fall in the clothing's price is one of the contributor's to EU end users not only buying more garments in the past two decadea, but also using each garment fewer times before disposal.

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