As the drive for Covid-19 vaccination rolls out garment exporters in India have started getting orders once more in all major markets. This has been confirmed by top suppliers to international brands such as Zara, H&M and Primark. Fashion brands have started placing fresh orders for Summer/Spring, as they expect consumption in top European and North American markets to pick up in the next few weeks.
This comes months after shipments were kept on hold, orders cancelled and payments were put on hold, as global retailers were in distress due to high number of coronavirus cases in most countries which led to lockdowns and low shopper turnout. Global brands, which were mostly relying on digital channels until now expect shoppers to be back in stores by March or April, and so have started building inventory cautiously.
Pent-up demand and increased online sales are expected to give a boost to exports. The order volume, however, is nowhere close to the pre-Covid level as brands want to mitigate risk.
According to industry estimates, the global textile and apparel market was worth $1.9 trillion in 2019 and was projected to reach $3.3 trillion in 2030. Europe and the US contribute about 30 per cent to the total apparel market and hence the launch of vaccination in these two regions has led to the increase in number of international orders.
However, there has been a significant shift in demand from formal wear to casual wear. Since the pandemic began last year, the loungewear category of India's Rs 53,000-crore knitwear export industry has seen demand increase in the range of 15-150 per cent say exporters.
Similarly, the entire knitwear industry has witnessed this shift towards casual wear since the onset of the pandemic, with the export composition now changing from 50 per cent casual and 50 per cent formal to 70 per cent casual and 30 per cent formal.