The apparel investment themes to watch in 2022

 Health and safety, e-commerce and robotics are expected to be key investment themes in the apparel industry in 2922, according to an analysis of trends across three pillars of key investment activity.

Powered by 

GlobalData picked out the driving forces in recruitment, deal-making and innovation (through patent filings) in 2021 and measured how far up or down the investment rankings each had travelled compared with the previous year. The results uncover which forces have the most momentum going into 2022 and could therefore establish themselves as critically important influencers.

Health and safety had the strongest momentum when it came to apparel industry hiring patterns, climbing 25 places to rank 19th this year. This meant there were 99 health and safety roles sought per every 10,000 job postings in the sector in 2021, a significant increase.

Sensory and indulgence was the second fastest emerging hiring theme (up 10 ranking spots), while smart and connected came in third (up by two ranking spots).

Themes, as referenced throughout this article, are defined by Global Data, from whom our data is taken, as any issue that keeps a CEO awake at night. Companies that fail to spot the important themes within their industry risk being unprepared for their future and, ultimately, failure. Global Data tags millions of data points with these themes across its proprietary databases on a daily basis, making it possible to track their momentum over time.

Our analysis found the fastest rising themes tended to differ depending on the investment metric being analysed. ESG-related themes, such as ethics and governance featured heavily across the board as emerging forces in recruitment, while themes related to disruptive technologies tended to be the biggest risers across mergers, acquisitions and other deal-based investments.

Deals where e-commerce played a part enjoyed the biggest increase in ranking among the apparel supply chain companies included in the analysis, rising nine places higher this year compared to last. Online retail was the second fastest emerging dealmaking theme (up five ranking spots), while millennials / gen Z came in third (up by five ranking spots).

The final investment pillar analysed was patent filings, with the themes emerging here unsurprisingly tending to be at the cutting edge of the industry.

Robotics-related patent filings had the most momentum in the apparel industry, ranking 21st in 2021. This was an increase of 44 ranking places this year compared to last. Remote patient monitoring was the second fastest emerging innovation theme (up 44 ranking spots), while virtual and augmented reality came in third (up by 44 ranking spots).

It is important to note that all the themes within this article are emerging themes which are worth watching in 2022. They won't all necessarily rise to the top of the thematic rankings (some will almost certainly fizzle out next year) but they have the potential to do so in the coming years.