‘Metro men’ make EU attractive target for PH accessories sector

FILIPINO exporters of fashion accessories are encouraged to penetrate Europe and sell fashion accessories for men.

The market report of the Center for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) noted that accessories for men are one of the segments with great growth potential in the European market.

Although the female segment is still the largest, the report noted that fashion accessories for men is a fast-growing sector due to the European metropolitan males’ growing attention to appearance and details.

“With 20 percent, fashion accessories represent the second biggest segment within apparel, together with men’s woven at 20 percent after women’s woven at 25 percent,” the CBI report said.

Fashion accessories include gloves, mittens, neckwear, handkerchiefs, belts, hats, caps and carrying products such as bags.

Europe represents an attractive destination market for exporters of fashion accessories from developing countries.

UK, Italy

The state-run promotions authority, Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (Citem), has identified the 28-country European Union (EU) as a major market for the Philippines’ lifestyle export industry, which includes fashion accessories, because of the imminent rise in global consumption in key EU export areas.

CBI said fashion accessories have performed well in the European market, even during the economic crisis.

The report identified the United Kingdom and Italy as “very potential markets” for this segment, but European countries in general are interesting markets.

To seize the huge market potential of the EU, Citem encouraged Filipino exporters to take advantage of the EU’s grant of a Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP)+ status to the Philippines, which exempts the country from duties on its exports to the region.

“While our exports in EU are only about 12 percent, it grew by eight percent last year, which means the EU GSP+ is gaining traction as well as the US GSP,” said Senen Perlada of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Export Marketing Bureau in a forum held in Cebu.

Manila Fame, the bi-annual expo of Philippine products featuring furniture and home furnishings, holiday gifts and decor and fashion accessories, generated $27.6 million in sales last year.

Responsible consumption

Aside from utilizing the EU GSP+, CBI advised exporters “to incorporate sustainability measures and transparency at all levels of the production chain, making it part of their branding and point of differentiation” to successfully export fashion accessories to the EU.

“You should communicate your company’s performance on responsible water use, energy consumption and chemicals, which will give you a competitive advantage. This will help you reach a sustainable and long-term position on the European market,” the report said.

Likewise, exporters can innovate for the European market by combining the introduction of new materials or ideally, recycled materials, with innovative designs for fashion accessories.

CBI also encouraged exporters to maximize the use of social media to gain a wider customer reach in Europe. It said that having presence online makes it easier for developing country exporters to get familiar with their requirements, directions, preferences and style.

“Social media are used by European brands to connect with their customers and increase brand awareness, but the same messages can give exporters good ideas about what is important to them,” CBI said.
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