India's textile and apparel export sector has witnessed a prolonged period of negative year-on-year growth, enduring a consistent decline of approximately 20%.
The downward trend has persisted for ten consecutive months, with April's data revealing a 21% year-on-year drop. The textile sector experienced a decline of 19.2%, while apparel exports declined by 23.2%. Over the January to April period, India's cumulative textile and apparel export value amounted to $11.95 billion, reflecting a 20.1% year-on-year decrease
A shift in Export Destinations: In recent years, India's textile and apparel exports have shifted their primary focus from the EU-27 to the United States, making the latter the largest market. Bangladesh follows as the third significant market. While the UK and the UAE each account for approximately 6% of exports, ASEAN and China represent relatively smaller markets. The export share to the United States decreased from nearly 28% in 2022 to 25.5% in Q1 2023, whereas exports to the EU-27 increased to 21% during the same period.
Year-on-Year Changes in Export Markets: Examining the year-on-year changes in India's textile and apparel export destinations, it becomes evident that, apart from China, most major markets experienced a decline in the first quarter of 2023. The most substantial decline was witnessed in exports to Bangladesh, plummeting by approximately 60%, followed by a decline of around 32% in exports to ASEAN. The United States, as the largest export market, also suffered a year-on-year decline of 25%, while the decline in the EU-27 was slightly smaller.
India's textile and apparel industry primarily caters to the domestic market but heavily relies on export support. However, since the second half of the previous year, the sector has faced mounting pressure due to declining exports, with no significant turnaround observed as of April 2023. The situation is expected to improve in the latter half of the year. Notably, the United States remains the largest market for India's textile and apparel exports, with the EU-27, Bangladesh, and the UAE also occupying significant shares.
Meanwhile, China and ASEAN represent smaller markets. During the first quarter of 2023, nearly 70% of India's export destinations experienced significant year-on-year declines, except for China, which exhibited slight growth.