Industrial Canada: Can Fashion Survive the Environmentally-Conscious?
For all its imposing size, Canada is barely a competitor in the world when it comes to industrial output. In fact, even if the obvious goliaths like China (28.7% of global manufacturing output) and the United States (16.8%) are excluded, Canada is still beaten to the factory doors by Italy and France. Figures from World Population Review indicate that Canada produces less than 1% of the planet’s saleable products in the new decade.
As many of the country’s manufacturers are still in the growth phase of their existence, that news probably won’t come as a surprise. Canada has historically relied on agriculture and petroleum to make a buck, with tourism recently sliding into a supporting role. In the latter case, the IBISWorld research group indicates that hotels, air travel, restaurants, and amusement parks are among the fastest-growing areas of Canadian business.
Like just about everywhere else in the world, eCommerce is an increasingly vital part of Canadian life too. Thanks to a trend of reduced unemployment and a rapidly increasing number of internet connections, online retail of all descriptions has experienced revenue growth of 11.2%. One of the biggest contributors to this boom often goes unnoticed though, namely, the US$12.54bn online gaming industry.
Casinos and casino websites have posted a small slump in Canadian profits recently, down to US$12.5bn from a 2016 peak of US$15.87bn, but this part of eCommerce is still an economic powerhouse. The Bonus.ca comparison website claims that there are “hundreds” of casino pages that Canadian players can spend their money on, including titles from global names like LeoVegas, Wheelz, and Jackpot City.
Due to the amount of competition in the previous sector, customers are able to get a better deal on their game-playing courtesy of the range of bonuses and other perks now available. These include things like Jackpot City’s 295 free spins on the Wacky Panda slot. Of course, entertainment is just one small part of eCommerce so let’s take a look at one of the more traditional retail darlings – clothing.
Statista indicates that the size of the Canadian garment industry will grow by a rather meager 5% (at best) in 2023. Considering it took a 23% nosedive in 2020, that figure is a little more impressive than it might first seem. The worry is that clothing and the much-maligned concept of “fast fashion” present something of a timebomb for retailers, as the use of fossil fuels comes under a wary spotlight.
The United Nations estimates that between 2-10% of damaging greenhouse gases originate from the fashion industry. Fortunately, Canada’s entrepreneurs do have something to say about this. For instance, Joshua Akom and Oghosa Ogiemwonyi set up the website Thriftsome to keep the three Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – in fashion, offering second-hand clothes instead of throwaway outfits.
The latter store could prove problematic for the Canadian clothing industry, largely because it aligns with young people’s desire to thrift their t-shirts and shoes. Retail Insider indicates that Gen Z buys second-hand fashion at a rate 2.5x faster than any other generation. While that might seem like a strange way to quantify purchases, it nevertheless means that this frugal generation could dictate the future direction of retail.
Overall, Canada’s various industries are thriving – but there may yet be a reckoning coming for some of the less environmentally-friendly ones out there.