Bangladesh has been instrumental in regaining as well as leading the USA apparel sourcing market outshining its rival apparel manufacturing giants like China and Vietnam in growth terms.
One of the biggest fashion apparel consumer markets globally – the USA’s apparel market was severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic – has significantly recovered. In 2021, the US imported 2.6 billion square meters (SME) – according to US Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) data – equivalents of apparel from Bangladesh. Bangladesh’s apparel export volumes increased by an astounding 29.35% in 2021 to 2.60 billion SME from 2.01 billion SME in 2019.
In growth terms Bangladesh’s garment export became second after Pakistan – the country witnessed a 49.42% increase in the US market and exported 895 million SME.
In volume terms, Bangladesh was the third biggest apparel sourcing destination for the USA after China and Vietnam.
It is apparent that according to some studies the pandemic disruption hurt some countries’ apparel production and exports. But as the OTEXA data depicted, the US fashion consumer market is showing an encouraging sign.
And most importantly, US apparel sourcing from these countries a good growth in 2021 year-on-year, suggesting a thorough recovery.
Shovon Islam, Chairman of the BGMEA’s Standing Committee on Press and Publicity said, “In terms of volume and growth perspective Bangladesh has done an exceptional job in the USA apparel market. Although OTEXA data showed that in growth standpoint Pakistan was top – but they were insignificant in terms of volume. Whereas, despite COVID and supply chain hiccups Bangladesh textile and apparel industry entrepreneurs and workers have shown tremendous bravery and the govt. supported in open hands with cash incentive. Which was paramount in Bangladesh’s performance globally and especially in the USA.”
“It is really a good sign for us that the USA apparel market is recovering well.”
“Although Shipment of time (SoT) from Bangladesh to USA is one of the highest – still the impressive apparel export performance shows how well we have offset the pandemic challenges and recovered in real quick time,” Shovon Islam added – who is also the Managing Director of Sparrow Group.
“In COVID time, the govt. trusted the RMG industry in terms our commitment to ensuring the health standards of our workers and employees. Apart from a short period of time we were never shutdown. And if we look at other Asian apparel manufacturing neighboring countries – they all suffered and had quite an extensive shutdown and needed much longer time to recovery,” he concluded.
Leading apparel powerhouse China witnessed 11.13 billion SME in the USA market and its garment volume still remains unrivalled. But its growth suffered severely. In 2021, the country experienced only 0.45% apparel growth.
According to leading US apparel experts, dropping reliance on China as a clothing sourcing location has been a top agenda for apparel sourcing brands and retailers.
In reality, China is still giving fashion items to the USA at the most competitive price compared to the rest of the 9 leading apparel supplying countries. In 2021, the per-unit Chinese garments price was $1.76.
Next is Pakistan, in terms of the most competitively priced garment supplier to the USA in 2021. Per unit of Pakistani garments price was $2.48.
While other major apparel suppliers like Cambodia, Indonesia, India and Vietnam also offset their pre-pandemic levels.
While USA’s neighbour – Mexico’s apparel export to the US witnessed a 4.42% growth on its pre- COVID pandemic level and Mexico’s export volumes raised to 826m SME.
China is leading in terms of US apparel exports COVID recovery. The country’s apparel export jumped by around 25% to 33.14 billion SME in 2021 from 26.50 billion SME in 2019.
While Bangladesh perceived a 55.26% increase from pre-COVID 2019 levels to 2020 in the US clothing market.
Indonesia also observed a big leap recovery in the US clothing market. The country’s apparel export jumped by 21.78% in 2021 from pre-COVID levels in 2019.
India’s recovered at a rate of 58.73% in 2021 from 2019.