Updated: 2022-03-21 16:12:33
Is clothing a good dropshipping niche? Is it profitable? Take a look at the following data.
The global apparel market generated about $1.55 trillion in revenue last year. It is expected to grow to nearly $2 trillion by 2026, according to the Consumer Market Outlook. And clothing & footwear account for the largest revenue share of the global B2C e-commerce market. As of 2021, Clothing was the top segment for global consumers to shop online locally and across borders. And the two sites with the highest visits for clothing are Amazon and Shein. All these show that clothing is definitely one of the best niches for the dropshipping model.
In this article, we’re gonna talk about the pros and cons of dropshipping clothing. We will also tell you some tips and guides on how to sell clothing online successfully without keeping inventory.
The clothing niche is indeed profitable, but not everyone can get a piece of the pie, so it’s worth knowing the pros and cons of dropshipping clothing to help you gauge whether it’s the right business model for you.
• High Market Demand - One of the reasons why clothing can occupy such a large e-commerce market share is its huge demand. Clothing is a necessity of life. And at the same time, new styles in fashion clothing can usually replace the old ones in a short period of time. People have a continuous demand for clothing and fashion.
• Diverse Choices - Under the clothing niche, you have a wide range of sub-niches to choose from, like women's clothing, children's clothing, swimsuits, sportswear, etc. There is always a niche that you are good at to start your dropshipping business.
• No Inventory Risk - Lockdowns during the pandemic have thrown most of the retailers into crisis with an overstocked inventory. And they have had to sell at discounted prices or even lose money. However, dropshipping is a retail model without keeping inventory so that you can avoid risks from overstocked inventory.
• Fierce Competition - If you dropshipping clothing, it means that you will compete with Amazon, Shein, Adidas, Zara, H&M, etc in addition to other dropshippers.
• Low-Profit Margin - With the fierce competition, clothing niches have lower profit margins when compared to other niches. Profit margins on retail clothing are usually between 4% and 13%, and you need to have a lot of sales to keep the business running. And one possible way to increase profit margins is to build a brand.
• Frequent product changes - Since outdated clothing products are hard to sell, you have to follow fashion trends, customer preferences, needs, etc. at all times. So that you can find the most trending products to sell.
If you have decided to start a clothing dropshipping business, the first thing you should do is product research. Finding the best clothing niches and products to sell is quite important to the start of your business. You can conduct clothing product research through the following channels.
• Market Research - Collect and research data on the clothing market. You can directly use the survey data provided by third-party platforms, but this may require a certain fee.
• Competitor Research - Browse established clothing brands’ websites for inspiration and follow them on social media.
• Product Trend Research - You can search on Google Trends to see which products are gaining popularity.
The best product for you to sell must be the one that you are interested in and is favored enough by your audience. Such a product is worthy of your 100% passion to run it. For specific clothing styles, materials, etc, you can decide according to your target audience's gender, age, figure, region, climate, etc.
If your idea isn’t quite clear yet, here are some potential and trending clothing product ideas that you can refer to.
Swimming is a popular fitness and leisure activity around the world, and the US swimsuits market is the world's leading market. Consumers are buying swimsuits as we emerge from the pandemic. Sales of men's and women's swimsuits begin to outstrip 2019 since the first week of March. If you want to dropshipping clothing during the swimming season, swimsuits are great products.
In the fashion world, Y2K is a style trend that covers styles from the late 90s and mid-2000s. Its unique style blends millennial pop culture with the latest (at the time) technological advancements. For millennials, Y2K fashion captures the energy and shopping habits of their childhood and adolescence.
With its unique style and precise audience, Y2K clothing is definitely a great women's clothing niche for dropshipping. Because girls and women are more engaged in buying clothing and more frequently than men. And millennials spent on average $1,950 per year on apparel, according to Statista’s survey as of 2018.
The consciousness of shopping sustainable and environmental items is becoming increasingly important with pressures from global climate change and the COVID-19 crisis. Sustainable clothing is designed, manufactured, distributed, and used in ways that are environmentally friendly. It is favored by millennials, who make up the largest share of sustainable clothing consumers in the United States (gen X was the second-largest), as of 2021. If your clothing store is going to aim at millennials or gen X, then dropshipping sustainable clothing would be a meaningful idea.
The fitness industry is shifting from gyms to outdoor, at-home fitness, and digital fitness after the pandemic. Obviously, the epidemic cannot kill people's enthusiasm for fitness and sports activities. Therefore, there is still a large market demand for sportswear, fitness equipment, etc.
The global sports apparel market generated around $193 billion in revenue in 2021. And men’s sportswear sub-segment is expected to be the most profitable, generating a revenue of $128.3 billion by 2028. So if you are planning to start a men’s clothing store, then man’s sportswear would be a profitable niche.
What you should create is a clothing niche store. In addition to the basic store settings, there are three important things you need to consider.
Selling points are often directly aimed at your audience's preferences and needs. And your unique selling point is the key to distinguishing you from your competitors. Figuring out and emphasizing your selling point will help you market better. So ask yourself the following questions before starting:
• What do the clothes I sell look like？
• Who will be my customers？
• What value can my customers get from my products？
• What advantages do I have over my competitors?
For example, if you sell swimsuits, you can offer different styles of swimsuits for people of different body types to meet the diverse needs of your audience. Others like sustainable fabrics, plus size, vintage, etc. can also be unique selling points.
Pricing is tied to your audience’s preferences. If you are not going to build a brand, then your audience should be those who are more looking for low prices and affordability when buying clothing. Your pricing should be as low as possible to meet the purchasing ability of most people, which can be compared to your competitors' pricing as a reference to avoid low profits.
The audience of branded clothing is more about the image of the brand and the social image that the clothing brand can bring, rather than product quality and market value. So you can boldly price your branded clothing to stay in line with your brand competitors.
If your audience cares more about the material and durability of the product, such as wool or leather products, then your pricing should match the value of the product itself, somewhere between low pricing and brand pricing.
For example, Shein is at the top of the Gen Z market, and its pricing strategy is geared towards younger buyers who prefer stylish, trendy, fun, cheap fashion clothing to more durable, high-quality clothing. So the products from Shein are all very affordable.
General clothing retail focuses on optimizing product classification to meet the needs of most users and provide inexpensive products, while branded clothing retail focuses more on product design and provides personalized and high-quality products to specific target groups.
As a vertical niche retail model, clothing dropshipping is more conducive to brand building than grocery and single product models. Although branding means higher costs, it can also bring stronger user stickiness and higher profit margins to your clothing business, that is why many clothing brands can stand for hundreds of years.
Under the fierce competition, clothing stores without brands can only attract consumers at low prices. Therefore, in the long run, it is necessary to build a brand for your clothing dropshipping store.
Working with trusted suppliers is essential for any dropshipping business. So how to find a reliable clothing dropshipping supplier? You can focus on the following tips when choosing a clothing supplier.
China has become the favorite sourcing place for retailers and dropshippers because of its abundant product supply and low product prices. The best example of dropshipping clothing from China is Shein, which mainly sourced its clothing from China's wholesale clothing market in the province of Guangzhou. Therefore, Chinese clothing suppliers or wholesalers are the first choices for your dropshipping business.
One of the best platforms to drop ship or wholesale clothing from China is FondMart, a dedicated clothing dropshipping supplier located in China. It provides the latest and most popular clothing products without MOQ limitations, as well as automated order processing, private label services, and fast global shipping, which can basically meet all your needs for dropshipping clothing.
If you don't plan to sell second-hand clothing, please be sure to look for a first source supplier. A good idea is to work directly with the manufacturer of the clothing so the product doesn't pass through other dealers and you can also get lower prices.
It may be difficult for those new to clothing dropshipping to work directly with Chinese manufacturers. Because not all the manufacturers offer dropshipping services and cross-border fulfillment services. It means that they may have MOQ limitation when you wholesale clothing from them, and you need to find a logistics provider yourself to ship your orders. There may also be language barriers between you and the Chinese manufacturers.
AliExpress was a good place for dropshipping clothing but the shipping usually takes up to a few weeks. There are also times when the wrong color and size can bring hassles like a return or exchange.
The biggest challenge in dropshipping clothing from China is shipping and after-sales issues. So the best way to work with Chinese manufacturers is to find a dropshipping agent like SourcinBox. It works directly with manufacturers and multiple shipping companies like Yun Express, CNE, DHL, USPS, ePacket, etc. The team has rich experience to help dropshippers with product sourcing, quality checking, warehousing, brand customizing, shipping, etc. And the customer support is more professional with fluent communication and guaranteed after-sales service. Most importantly, the sourcing cost is much lower than AliExpress.
The quality, size, fabric, version, etc. of clothing products are the key points that you need to strictly check when selling clothing. Especially the size and version, there is a big difference between China and Europe, and the United States. It is difficult to judge only through product pictures or videos. So you'd better buy product samples for testing in advance to ensure that your customers receive the right products.
It is easy to fall into the crisis of copyright infringement when dropshipping clothing because some suppliers provide unoriginal products or imitation products. You may be sometimes hard to identify, making your dropshipping business illegal. Thus, when choosing a clothing supplier, please make sure that the clothing it provided is an original design product, or the supplier has a legal authorization of operation of the clothing brand. You can learn more about how to avoid copyright infringement from this article.
Easy to promote is actually one of the advantages of dropshipping clothing. Apparel & Fashion has a place on almost every social platform. The following are the best marketing channels for clothing businesses.
As the most popular social network worldwide with over 2.9 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the number one advertising platform for small businesses. If you know your audience very well, you can precisely target your audience based on age, gender, location, language, interests, etc. when setting up Facebook ads. Additionally, Facebook ads can automatically find all people you want with certain characteristics and scale automatically based on your business goals.
Influencer marketing is really suitable for promoting fashion and clothing products. The best influencer marketing platform for clothing is Instagram. There are about 42% of Instagram users are interested in fashion, and about 63% like to view photos and videos posted by influencers. Other platforms like Youtube and TikTok are also great for finding creators who are influential in apparel and fashion.
One form of working with influencers is to invite your customers who are influential on social media to take feedback photos or videos of your product, building a good reputation for your product.
Another way to work with influencers is to find the right influencers yourself on social media, send them your products and pay a promotional fee to have them shoot a try-on video or some other form of videos for your products.
Pinterest is the number one social media in terms of mobile engagement and 1 of 2 Pinners makes a purchase after seeing a promoted Pin. It is also a potential marketing platform for the women’s clothing niche because 78.3% of Pinterest users in the US are women. Many clothing and fashion brands are attracting traffic on Pinterest.
Google accounts for more than 75% of global desktop search traffic. You should build SEO from the start because SEO is critical to your site's ranking in Google's search results. Since keywords like “clothing for girls”, “men’s suits”, “swimsuits” are very competitive, you can use less competitive long-tail keywords like “casual dinner outfits”, “little black dresses” “boho skirts”. And long-tail keywords usually have a 3-5% higher CTR for searches. You should be good at discovering what terms your target customers are searching for on social media.
Writing blogs for your website is also a good idea to help with SEO because long articles can cover your keywords well. Article topics and keywords can revolve around frequently asked questions from your customers.
There are endless possibilities for dropshipping clothing. Accessories such as shoes, hats, jewelry, bags, glasses, etc. can work perfectly for cross-selling to expand your business. If you are interested in finding clothing dropshipping suppliers, you can contact us to learn more about how to dropship clothing with SourcinBox.