The world’s top hosiery exporting country is China. World exports of hosiery rose by 6.9 per cent in 2018 and, of this total, China alone accounted for a 44.5 per cent share. The international hosiery market is set for transformation as importers in the major markets, including the USA and the EU, shift their sourcing towards emerging low cost producing countries in Asia. China is facing increasing competition from fast-growing countries in Asia which can produce basic hosiery quickly and cheaply.
As a result, sourcing of such hosiery is set to shift away from China towards these countries. Asian countries that pose a significant threat include Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Vietnam. These countries are quickly adopting Industry 4.0 production methods, and these are helping them to improve productivity and manufacture goods in vast quantities. Hosiery exports from Pakistan reached a record high in 2018 while India shot up in the hosiery export rankings by three places compared with 2017 to become the 15th largest exporter in 2018. There was also a rise in exports from Vietnam in 2018.
Global imports and exports of hosiery rose in 2018 but remained below the peak achieved in 2014. EU imports of hosiery declined in value and in volume terms in 2018 but still reached their second-highest level on record. Imports of hosiery into the USA rose in volume terms to a record high and were also up in terms of value.