Dissecting Law Enforcement and Firefighter Uniform Growth Year Over Year and by Level of Government

An examination of state, local and education (SLED) uniform supply opportunities (bids & RFPs) revealed that the strongest area of growth for the last two years (2013-2014) was in the law enforcement and firefighter uniform category at 18.22% growth in 2014 over 2013.


In 2014, it appears that cities and towns sought to update the dress of their police officers and firefighters more than any other level of government with nearly 50% of all law enforcement and firefighter uniform supply opportunities coming from city agencies. Rounding off the top 3 would be county agency requests at 27% and state agency requests at 16% of the law enforcement and firefighter uniform market.

Taking a closer look at the law enforcement and firefighter uniform overall market share revealed that in 2014, 25% of the entire SLED uniform market was made up by requests for law enforcement and firefighter uniforms, up 4 points from the previous year at 21% in 2013.

Breaking Down Growth and Declines in Other Uniform Categories

The second largest growth category for uniform supply opportunities was in the band uniforms category with 9.72% growth; this category held steady with 5% of the overall market share.  The medical and laboratory apparel category showed the third largest growth in opportunities with a 2.38% increase year over year but also maintained the same overall market share at 1% of all uniform supply requests for both of the years examined.

The largest drop in opportunity volume for 2014 over 2013 was in requests for school uniforms, with a -23.13% change in number of opportunities (not necessarily contract value). One possible cause of this drop in school uniform bid & RFP opportunities could be a noted increase in cooperative purchasing participation by education agencies. Onvia’s State and Local Procurement Snapshot for Q3 2014 found a 10.5% decline in bid & RFP volumes amongst education agencies, indicating that school uniforms could represent a portion of the shift to cooperatives for under threshold education spending.  Also worth noting is that the share of the overall uniform supply market (bids & RFPs) for school uniforms dipped only slightly from 5% in 2013 to 4% in 2014. The second largest drop year over year came in the athletic uniform category with a 6.73% decrease in number of opportunities; this category also dropped 2 points in 2014 to a 20% share of the overall market.

Work Uniforms Continue to Represent Roughly Half of the Uniforms Market

Work uniforms make up the largest portion of the SLED uniform supply market at 42% but the number opportunities in this category remained steady from 2013-2014.

Like the law enforcement and firefighter uniform category, city and town agencies led the way in requests for work uniforms at 32%. County agencies come up second at 24%, state agencies at 19% and the remaining 25% coming from special districts and school districts combined.

Getting a Leg Up on the Competition for Uniform Vendors

Uniform vendors selling into state and local agencies who are curious about targeting areas of growth both by category and region are encouraged to check out Onvia’s Project Center for opportunity tracking and Vendor Center for comprehensive vendor intelligence and request a demo.