Bangladesh is emerging as one of the leaders in global home textile production and export arena.
Home textile is one of the first line export sector in Bangladesh also known as decorative textile. Due to quality and diversified range of products, the country’s production of the home textile is being increased day by day. In the mid-nineties, local industry entrepreneurs concentrated in making home textiles, while Bangladesh entered the export market in the 1980s with knit items. This sector, initially has seen losses, has gradually started to return to the growth trend over time. In this fiscal year, the export revenues of this sector can touch billions of dollars – that is the expectation from the concerned people.
Home textile factories in Bangladesh are very less compared to woven or knit garments. 25-30 companies in Dhaka, Gazipur and Chittagong arena are producing home textile items. However, Zaber & Zubair Fabrics, Mosharraf Group, Saad Musa Group, Alltex, ACS Textile, Apex Weaving, Regent, JK Group, Classical Home etc. have established as strong exporters. Among them, Noman Group’s Zaber & Zubair Fabrics is the pioneer home textile marketer in Bangladesh.
In recent times, many entrepreneurs are showing keen interest to invest in this sector and they are coming forward. Big groups are extending their manufacturing plants for home textile. Bangladesh exports different types of home textile products including bed sheet, bedspreads, pillow, pillow covers, cotton table napkins, furnishing fabrics, curtains, window and door curtains, cushion, cushion covers, carpets, table covers, kitchen accessories, mattress covers, bath linen, and other home furnishings etc.
Global home textile market
The home textile market registers a robust growth and experts say the demand is expected to reach 160+ billion dollars by 2025. The United States and EU countries import lion’s share of home textile products, which is 60 to 70 percent of the global market. In addition, the exporters of these products are China, India, Pakistan, Turkey and Bangladeshi entrepreneurs mainly. In 2016, global textile and apparel trade stood at US$ 743 billion, while the share of other categories such as fiber, yarn and fabric has decreased. Home textile has maintained its share of 6% over the past five years.
According to Technavio, a research firm, the global home textiles trade is valued at US$ 118 billion in 2017 and will reach US$ 131.5 billion by 2020 and US$ 180 billion by the end of 2025, growing at a CAGR of 3.5% or more during 2018-2025. Carpets were the top traded category valued at US$ 14 billion. While table linen, furnishing and carpets have been growing at a negative CAGR of 5%, 2% and 1% respectively, bath/kitchen linen has shown the maximum positive CAGR of 3% and an increase in the share of 1% too.
The top 10 importing nations contribute to about 80% of the home textiles market. EU-28 is the largest market for home textiles with a share of 36% and import value of $17 billion. This is followed by the US with an import value of $11 billion and a share of 24%. Japan, Canada, Australia, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Thailand constitute the top markets for global home textiles.
Thailand has emerged as a market for home textiles in the last five years with a CAGR of 22% but at a small base value. Japan is the third largest market for home textiles is declining with a CAGR of 6% over a period of five years due to the economic downturn and demographic issues. Russia, facing similar issues, has shown a downfall of 18%, thus losing ranks in the list of major markets but is expecting some growth going forward.
The booming Bangladeshi trade
Just a decade ago, buyers thought that home textile products are only produced in China, India, Pakistan and Turkey. However, the situation has been changed; the name of Bangladesh has been added with these countries. The growth of home textiles is inevitable in the Bangladeshi market as customers look out to have a unique showcase at their home and office, and do not hesitate to spend the same. Bed and bath linen are the most popular segments and contribute to two-thirds of the total home textiles market while kitchen linen, curtains, upholstery and carpets/rugs make up for the rest of the share.
According to the Bangladesh Terry Towel & Linen Manufacturers Exporters Association (BTTLMEA) and Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), Bangladesh earned US$ 150 million by exporting home textile products in the FY 2004-05. In addition, this export income has been increased to about US$ 753.01 million in the FY 2015-2016. In the middle years, the export growth had fluctuated, also indicated to earn better revenue as well. Exports of Bangladesh touched the highest revenue of US$ 906.07 million in the 2011-12 fiscal years. EPB has set an export target of US$ 900 million for the home textile sector in the current fiscal year.
The scenario of Bangladesh’s rival countries
China, Pakistan, India and Turkey are the main competitors of Bangladesh in this case where the country is in the 5th position. Vietnam, Taiwan, Cambodia or other manufacturers cannot reach at the level of Bangladesh yet but their gains are remarkable. In 2016, more than $26.86 billion worth of home textiles were imported from outside the EU, according to the data from the European Apparel and Textile Confederation, Euratex. Of the sum, China accounted for 33%, Pakistan 25%, India 16%, and Turkey 11%. Bangladesh’s share was 7-8%.
According to the South China Morning Post & China Home Textile Association, China exports now around US$ 18bn valued home textile item in the world and expects to grow minimum US$ 32bn within next four years.
Cotton cultivator the Indian domestic consumption of home textiles contribute US$ 4.8 bn according to statistics, a research firm. Considering the advantages of raw material base, design content, skilled manpower-the home textile industry can achieve higher levels of growth than the present.
Pakistan already remains apex in this sector than Bangladesh due to having its own cotton and GSP+ facilities. Besides Pakistan government gives some extra subsidy packages for lifting up the industry. Technological advancement brings the country’s revenue up to US$ 6.2 billion in 2016-17 according to hometextiletoday.com. On the other hand, the implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the Chinese industrial zone Xinjiang is going to join the Arabian Sea through Pakistan. This means a China-Pakistan export trade is going to be more dynamic.
The Turkish home textile industry is the world’s fourth-largest supplier and the EU’s second largest supplier. As a result, at the end of 2017, the total exports of home textile is recorded as 3.6 billion USD out of 25 billion USD of their apparels & RMG, according to Turkey Economy Ministry. To accelerate their business every year Turkey arranges trade fair on home textiles named ‘Evteks’ & ‘Hometex’.
The reasons behind the upcoming lead of Bangladesh
Experts believe that Bangladesh’s position in this sector will reach in the top soon.
Investments in research
New investments in fabrics and garments manufacturing are playing a key role in establishing Bangladesh’s dominance in the US and EU markets. However, manufacturers are also investing in research and development of high-end products, helping them get a better price. Meanwhile, improvement of the safety standard in the apparel industry has also drawn the attention of more global buyers.
Quality and latest technology
Today the Bangladeshi home textile industry is aware of the trend in international markets towards the increasing demand for healthier and more environmentally friendly products and quickly adapts itself to developments in legal and technical regulations. Many manufacturers in the sector are able to produce with quality and environment management systems. Buyers always want quality fabrics when it comes to home textiles products. To manufacture quality fabrics, the latest technology is must for any company.
Some renowned world manufacturers have also started making home textile products in natural fabrics such as soya and bamboo along with silk, polyester, and many others. We should also give more focus on the production of diversified products rather than traditional quality and design.
In addition, the country’s many factories have already established that and other are establishing. Bangladesh still cannot reach in China or Pakistan level in this sector, but the buyers keep confidence on Bangladesh so much.
Nazrul Islam, Lab & Product Development Officer of Zaber & Zubair Fabrics Ltd (Noman Group) said, “Some renowned world manufacturers have also started making home textile products in natural fabrics such as soya and bamboo along with silk, polyester, and many others. We should also give more focus on the production of diversified products rather than traditional quality and design.”
Designing and Invention
In a rapidly changing world, the home decoration field is very sensitive to all changes. That is why the creation of collections with innovative and modern designs and motifs is essential. Bangladeshi home textile manufacturers are very conscious about fashion creation and design, which enables them to gain a special place in international markets. New and modern designs and unique motifs in this specialized sector, created by Bangladeshi intellectual designers, keep a finger on the pulse of world home decoration fashion and meet tastes and preferences.
Although Bangladesh depends on more buyers’ provided design since earlier, some houses have created their own design studios to develop this lagged site. Industry insiders say, buyers are choosing manufacturer’s design gradually such as 2 or 3 own designs are being selected out of 10 which was stood at zero in previous. Hopefully, it’s a positive sign to uplift the sector and earn growth as well. If Bangladesh can make its footing stronger more in developing design and innovation, then the sky is the limit for the local home textile industry.
It has to be believed that Bangladesh now considers the maximum sustainable environment to make products. Factories are working to produce numerous products through the sustainable practices, which are being appreciated by the buyers. Therefore, this culture will keep ahead to the home textile business of the country.
Bangladesh has a stable and supportive government, who has launched various support schemes for textile and apparel manufacturers to make them globally competitive. The schemes targets are technology up gradation, infrastructure development, to develop more EPZ zones, export promotion etc. Various ministries- including industry, commercial, finance, jute & textiles, planning- have also announced their textile policies aimed at attracting investments in the country.
The Bangladeshi government has made focused efforts in improving economic systems to attract foreign investors, enhance international trade, and increase transparency. As a result, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows into Bangladesh in 2017, 2016 & 2015 calendar year were recorded to be US$ 215 crore, US$ 233 crore & US$ 223 crore respectively, according to United Nation’s Trade and Development Organization named ‘The United National Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Traders say that there was no expansion of the home textile market since last few years as per expectation. Currently, there is a lot of work orders coming from abroad, but it is not possible to provide. However, if the uninterrupted gas-power and low-interest bank loans will be available, then it will be possible to increase the export earnings rate within the next five years.
In Bangladesh, though fiber-yarn, dyes or denim product’s exhibitions are arranged, but only a separate exhibition for home textile products has not been organized yet. To showcase our products and to convince the world’s small and big buyers to invest in Bangladesh, there is no alternative to organize such fair in this country.
Europe and America’s major retailing companies like IKEA, Carrefour, Asda, Littlewood, Maurice Phillips, Wal-Mart and Redcats are importing home textile products from Bangladesh. As demand is increasing, domestic producers are also increasing their product range, and they’re going to expand the industries.
However, the price of cotton and its continuous supply for the home textile sector are the biggest problem, said the entrepreneurs. Bangladesh is far behind here than China, India and Pakistan. They can control 40 to 50 percent production costs easily themselves because of their own cotton supply.
Bangladesh has to depend on the fluctuations in the price of the world market. Because Bangladesh can meet only 2 percent of the domestic demand by cotton. The remaining 98 percent is imported. In addition, despite having huge potential in home textile, Bangladesh is slightly unable to expand its market share in the European Union because of duty benefits extended to Pakistan, a cotton grower.
Md. Jahangir Alam, Deputy General Manager (Production) of Zaber & Zubair Fabrics Ltd (Noman Group) said about this matter to Textile Today, “As cotton is a seasonal product, we have to import cotton for five to six months together. It stops a huge amount of money. Higher interest rates are to be counted for bank loan. Moreover, to import cotton, 5% imported cost is spent. Due to these reasons, the price of our products has increased.”
But, Md. Jahangir Alam does not want to see the problem of cotton as the main reason. He added, “If we get gas and electricity according to demand, it will never create a barrier. In many factories, it seems huge scarcity of gas pressure almost at the half-time of batch production. If the government reduces the interest rates of bank loans, improves communication and port competency, then it is believed a revolution can happen in this sector.”
Addressing the importance of arranging and participating in intarnational fair Md. Jahangir Alam said that home textile product’s exhibition is being organized in Germany, China, and Turkey. By participating in this type of exhibition, it is actually understood that how backward we are and where the need to develop.
“In Bangladesh, though fiber-yarn, dyes or denim product’s exhibitions are arranged, but only a separate exhibition for home textile products has not been organized yet. To showcase our products and to convince the world’s small and big buyers to invest in Bangladesh, there is no alternative to organize such fair in this country,” he continued.
Bangladesh Terry Towel & Linen Manufacturers Exporters Association (BTTLMEA) has given some suggestions to the government for the promotion of home textile sector. Their proposal asks everyone to show their interest to work with GSP+ instead of GSP so that Bangladesh can increase her ability to survive in export trade with competitor countries-China, Pakistan, Turkey, and India.
Bangladesh’s home textile business has a bright future. However, there is needed to create updated thinking and sufficient research opportunities. New entrepreneurs and investors have to come forward in the sector. At the same time, the government’s continuous collaboration and opposite policy supports can boost up the industry.