"Overriding Italy, Turkey has jumped to second place after China in socks exports globally, accounting for 10 per cent of world exports in 2016. China, the world’s largest socks maker, makes up 40 per cent of the world socks exports, reveals Ozkan Karaca. Though the gap is huge, yet it’s substantial win for Turkish textile industry. With its modern machinery park, and high production and export capacity, Turkey has been inking its name in the global textile market. Istanbul houses around 85 per cent of the factories, it has become an investor’s preferred paradise. "
Overriding Italy, Turkey has jumped to second place after China in socks exports globally, accounting for 10 per cent of world exports in 2016. China, the world’s largest socks maker, makes up 40 per cent of the world socks exports, reveals Ozkan Karaca. Though the gap is huge, yet it’s substantial win for Turkish textile industry. With its modern machinery park, and high production and export capacity, Turkey has been inking its name in the global textile market. Istanbul houses around 85 per cent of the factories, it has become an investor’s preferred paradise. There are more than 300 socks factories in Turkey with medium and large-scale production capabilities. In addition, there are many small-scale workshops that manufacture for the internal market.
It is estimated that 2.2 billion pairs of socks and 300 million pieces of pantyhose are produced annually in Turkey. Turkey’s largest socks manufacturers in 2016, according to the Industrial Chamber for Istanbul (ISO), included Penti Corap, with net sales of $55 million, Beks Corap, with net sales of $51 million, Altin Iplik Corap, with net sales of $41 million, and Bony Corap, with net sales of $40 million.
Exports on fast forward growth track
Being an export-oriented sector, around 75 per cent of socks produced in the country are being exported. The industry is exporting an average of $86 million worth of socks every month. The EU ranks first in exports, with 85 per cent of socks going to EU countries in 2016. The three largest buyers are UK, Germany and France. According Turkish Statistical Institute, in 2016, Turkey exported 1.5 billion pairs of socks and 146.5 million pieces of pantyhose, worth $1 billion 36 million. Of these socks, 1.2 billion pairs are made of cotton. Between January-October 2017, total socks exports amounted to $862.5 million.
The total socks exports was, $1 billion 36 million in 2016 amounting to $251.6 million. With these exports in 2016, UK is the first with a share of 24.3 per cent in Turkey’s total sock exports. United Kingdom was followed by Germany (21.6 per cent) with exports of $224 million. France (10.7 per cent) was in third place with $110.8 million. The share of these three countries in total sock exports was 56.6 per cent.
Target markets: US and Japan
Turkey is eyeing expansion with the The Socks Committee taking umpteen initiatives. The Committee is preparing projects to increase socks exports within the Istanbul Apparel Exporters Union. Ozkan Karaca, chairperson of this committee says two countries were identified as the target market. The US is the world’s largest importer of socks by importing socks of $2.2 billion annually. Germany is second with $1 billion 20 million imports, and Japan comes third with about $1 billion socks imports. In order to enhance its reach, Turkey has started joining the Las Vegas Magic Show in the US as exporters of socks. It is also attending the Shanghai International Hosiery Purchasing Expo in China, the largest sock supplier in the US. This fair is a good platform where both US buyers, as well as buyers from Japan and Australia attend. Özkan Karaca forecasts by 2020, they aim to export $100 million worth of products to the US market and would like to make Turkey one of the five biggest export destinations.
Competing with China
Turkey and China, which export 85 per cent of their exports to EU countries, are experiencing intense competition in this market. According to Eurostat, the difference between the two countries is $43 million. Özkan Karaca states he was the first in the EU market offering price advantage over Chinese produce And the most important advantage of socks made in Turkey is they are three hours away from the EU and can be delivered in a short time of around three days. The disadvantage is that most of the socks factories operate in Istanbul, where the labour, input and production costs are high. Turkish socks workers should establish factories in Anatolia where government support is at hand and labour and input costs are low.