Although the textile industry of Bangladesh started with woven sector, its market share in export is lagging behind now. Woven sector faced the most difficult times, while export suffered a double-digit decline. In July, export earnings from woven products fell 18% year-over-year.
To develop new strategies to increase the export of woven products Bangladesh Textile Today has organized its weekly talk show TexTIMe Episode 13 presented by COATS Bangladesh.
This time special guests were Mir Azharul Islam, Chief Operating Officer of Hamid Fabrics Ltd., and Adil Hossain, Sr. Fabric Manager, Marks & Spencer (Bangladesh) where Tareq Amin, Founder & CEO, Textile Today moderated the webinar.
Shipments of woven products have been declining since June last year as many people confined themselves to their homes due to the deadly virus and many worked from home. Tareq Amin said, “According some research longer stay at homes has pushed up the customer interest in knitwear products.” But the world has decided to vaccinate and return to the workplace. Consumers are returning to formal wear now.
Adil Hossain said, “Demand for woven has also declined as people were mostly indoors in export markets due to the epidemic. But they have already opened the store after mass vaccination, which is increasing demand”. Marks & Spencer are getting a response for both knitting and woven products now.
However, the woven sector is about 40 years old, but still can’t fully compete with China. In that context, the local mill can produce about 45 million meters of fabric which is about 14-15% of the demand. Every year the country spends about USD 4 billion to import fabric. Marks & Spencer still source 40% woven fabric from Bangladesh and 55-66% from china around 120 million yards worth around USD 0.5 billion. Bangladesh can take this opportunity from China.
Mir Azharul Islam said, “The growth of the woven sector was slow because of unskilled manpower”. But the textile industry of Bangladesh is getting educated fresh graduates and experienced manpower. However, employees need training and development after a certain period of time to learn about new technologies and skills. Mir Azharul Islam said that employees are not motivated about this training so the industry is losing its potentiality in research and development which is necessary for product diversification.
Woven sector is still doing traditional products. It’s time to focus on product diversity. Mir Azharul Islam suggests focusing on blended and printing trends in woven fashion to bring diversification in the weaving industry. However, denim products are prospering right now.
Today, more than 400 textile and garment manufacturers in Bangladesh are exporting a total of 180 million pieces of denim jeans to the world market every year. Bangladesh’s market share in US denim products rose to 20.03% in 2020 taking the first position from Mexico. Mexico holds the second position with a 16.74% market share followed by China 11.85%.
Home textiles are a part of the woven sector. The global market for home textiles is valued at 151080 million USD in 2020 is expected to reach 186240 million USD by the end of 2026, growing at a CAGR of 3.0% during 2021-2026. However, exports of home textile products collected $92.36 million this July, 1.76% lower than that in July last year. Home textile is an opportunity for the woven sector for product diversification.
Mir Azharul Islam said, “It takes 12-13 acres of land with a capacity of 1-1.15 million yards of fabric to build a competitive home textile factory”. Also due to recent events buyers are looking for alternative sourcing points along with China which could be a big opportunity for Bangladesh. Competitors of Bangladesh’s textile industry are already working on value-added products and product diversifications.
Adil Hossain said, “Woven sector needs to increase its capacity and lead time to survive in this competitive market”.
However, manufacturers are arguing that they have invested heavily like in home-textiles but buyers are not supporting them. Khorshed Alam, Advisor of Noman Group said, “We have built many factories but still, we are not getting proper response from the buyers and even the factories have gone bankrupt”. Buyers are not willing to pay a fair price. Also, a few factories did not get the return on their investment.
Adil Hossain said, “Factories are facing difficulties due to unplanned expansion without proper market research”.
Bangladesh still cannot compete with China for lead time. Today the whole world is moving towards fast fashion. Buyers are no longer referring to the lead time of 60-90 days. In this circumstance, Bangladesh has to offer a competitive price than others.
Adil Hossain said, “If manufactures can’t have a competitive lead time, they should invest in capacity, quality, and effective marketing for better ROI”. Adil Hossain suggested focusing on tailoring fabrics, active-wear, and sports-wear to diversify the weaving industry.
| Question: If we go for specialization, will Bangladesh have a possibility of exporting woven fabric?
Adil Hossain: Off course.We are exporting denim now which we didn’t think of even four years back.
| Question: In woven sector, why don’t we have enough skilled manpower?
Mir Azharul Islam: It’s because our lack of investment and lack of exercise for skill development
|Question: In your opinion, what are the feasible areas to invest in denim sector?
Adil Hossain: Formal wear, active wear and outer wear should be our focus.
Watch the full video here: