2024 consumer confidence the pr advisor

In part 3 of my 14 part series analyzing McKinsey’s State of Fashion 2024 128-page report, we reach a “Fragmented Future.”  This section suggests that while 2024 presents significant challenges for the fashion industry, it also offers opportunities for strategic growth and reorientation, particularly in emerging markets and through sustainable practices.


Consumer Confidence and the Economic Landscape

2024 paints a complex picture for the global economy, especially for the fashion industry. The overarching theme is an unsettled global economic outlook, influenced by financial, geopolitical, and other challenges. These factors are impacting consumer confidence differently across major markets like the U.S., Europe, and China. A notable trend is the slowing of global GDP growth, projected at 2.9% in 2024, a decline from previous years. This slowdown is particularly pronounced in advanced economies.

Regional Perspectives: U.S., Europe, and China

  • United States: Despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts, consumer confidence remains fragile. High inflation, interest rate hikes, and rising credit card debt contribute to a challenging economic environment, with GDP growth expected to slow.
  • Europe: The situation is more severe with ongoing geopolitical tensions, particularly the impact of the Ukraine conflict. The risk of recession looms, consumer confidence is low, and inflation rates remain high.
  • China: The economic scenario differs, marked by deflation and a crisis in the property market. High youth unemployment and a significant increase in savings rates indicate a cautious consumer spending pattern.

Emerging Markets: A Silver Lining

India emerges as a beacon of hope, showcasing strong GDP growth, driven by investment activity, domestic demand, and infrastructure development. This positions India as a potentially lucrative market for the fashion industry.

Fashion Industry: Navigating the Headwinds

The fashion sector faces a dual challenge: adapting to low consumer demand in key markets and managing the ripple effects along the supply chain. Brands and retailers may see growth driven more by price increases rather than volume, necessitating strategic pricing to avoid alienating consumers.

Strategic Approaches for Resilience

Fashion decision-makers are advised to focus on:

  • Contingency Planning: Given the high uncertainty, scenario planning must account for regional consumer demand shifts.
  • Inventory Management: Continuation of effective post-pandemic cost management strategies is crucial.
  • Supplier Collaboration: Manufacturers face a competitive landscape with potential price wars. Building collaborative relationships with brands and tight cost control will be key.



The Changing Consumer Landscape

One of the most striking aspects of the McKinsey report is the divergent consumer confidence and spending patterns across the globe. This fragmentation presents unique challenges for fashion brands, especially those operating internationally. Brands must be agile and region-specific in their strategies, recognizing that one-size-fits-all approaches are no longer viable.

The Rise of India

India’s robust economic performance and growing consumer confidence present a significant opportunity for fashion brands. The country’s developing infrastructure and increasing domestic demand could make it a new hub for fashion retail and manufacturing. This shift could also lead to a realignment of global fashion supply chains, potentially reducing dependency on traditional markets.

Price vs. Volume: A Strategic Dilemma

The anticipated shift towards growth driven by price rather than volume presents a delicate balance for fashion brands. On one hand, there’s a need to maintain profitability in a low-demand environment. On the other, there’s a risk of alienating cost-sensitive consumers. Brands must navigate this by offering value, not just in terms of price but also through quality and sustainability, which are increasingly important to consumers.

Sustainability: An Understated Factor

While the report focuses on economic and consumer trends, it’s crucial to consider the growing importance of sustainability in fashion. Consumers are increasingly aware of environmental and ethical implications, which can influence purchasing decisions. Brands that invest in sustainable practices may find a competitive edge, particularly in markets with more environmentally conscious consumers.



  1. Global Economic Outlook: The global economy in 2024 is expected to remain unsettled with various financial and geopolitical challenges impacting consumer confidence.
  2. Slowing GDP Growth: There is a projected slowdown in global GDP growth, with a decrease to 2.9% in 2024, down from 3% in 2023 and 3.5% in 2022.
  3. Consumer Confidence Spending Caution: A general tempering in consumer spending is anticipated, with significant differences in purchasing intent across regions like the US, Europe, and China.
  4. Regional Variances: The US, Europe, and China are facing unique economic and consumer challenges, requiring region-specific strategies from fashion businesses.
  5. Inflation and Interest Rates: High inflation continues to be a global concern, with central banks, including the US Federal Reserve, likely to maintain higher interest rates for an extended period.
  6. Europe’s Economic Struggles: Europe faces more severe economic challenges, including the impact of ongoing geopolitical tensions and high inflation.
  7. China’s Economic Pressures: China’s economy is dealing with deflation and a crisis in the property market, alongside high savings rates and cautious consumer spending.
  8. Emerging Markets Opportunity: India emerges as a potential growth market for the fashion industry, thanks to strong GDP growth, investment activity, and consumer confidence.
  9. Fashion Industry Adaptation: The fashion sector needs to navigate through low consumer demand and supply chain challenges, possibly focusing on price-driven growth.
  10. Strategic Focus for Brands: Brands and retailers should emphasize contingency planning, effective inventory management, and collaborative relationships with suppliers to navigate the complex landscape of 2024.

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