Initially clothing was used to shield the human body from environmental conditions. Later on, as the wheels of time started spinning, new trends emerged and manufacturing of fashionable garments came into existence. Apparel industry produces finished clothing such as kids garments, mens and womens clothing, and other intimate apparel. Manufacturing apparels is one of the most in-demand businesses today. Fads come and go, particularly in the fashion world. In order to remain competitive, apparel manufacturers seek to expand their business in various ways. Factors such as short product life cycle, volatile fashions, unpredictable market trends and impulse purchase nature of the customer are to be given utmost importance by the manufacturers so as to sustain themselves in the apparel segment.


Growth of the Industry:


Apparel industry plays a pivotal role in developing a countrys economy in terms of revenue generation and creation of employment. The industry is undergoing a drastic change due to global sourcing and high level of price competition. Favorable demographic factors, rise in disposable incomes, change in consumer behavior and a substantial shift towards branded apparel has resulted in a positive growth in the global apparel market. Global exports of apparel which was 108 billion USD in 1990, increased drastically to 453 billion USD in 2004, which is a positive of 138% increase during the last 14 years. Industry leaders contemplate an increase of 600 billion USD by 2014 which promises a potential market for efficient producers. Asian countries contribute to a 50% of the total global apparel exports.

Apparel industry is more labor intensive. So the countries endowed with abundant labor power, has a promising future for its nourished growth.


The Apparel Supply Chain:




Apparel Manufacturers: Country-wise comparison:


China has almost 50% of the market share of the total apparel manufacturing in a global perspective followed by India, Hong Kong Mexico, Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Srilanka.


Data Source:




China is the largest exporter in the world and is a major sourcing hub for apparels. Its economic policy and availability of cheap and abundant labor has made it climb up the apparel ladder. Their apparel exports have increased by 25% in 2006 from 2005. Economic policies regarding FDI have also helped China to increase its apparel exports to a considerable extent. Investment in machineries in the apparel sector is $ 1 million. Japan, Hong Kong and US are the largest importers of Chinese apparels. Short lead-time, larger capacity and well-developed infrastructure, availability of profuse and cheap labor and manufacturers flexibility in product offerings contribute to the countrys success.




India has an abundant supply of cotton and man-made fiber, a well-established production base, availability of cheap and skilled labor and creative designers. Besides, the Governments liberalization on FDI and export policies also nurtures the growth of apparel industry in India. India is considered as a best alternative for sourcing of apparel industry next to China by the global business giants. Chinese apparel and textile industry is not only lucrative for domestic players but is also attracting the international giants. The expected sourcing market is likely to be 25 billion USD in 2008 and is positively expected to grow by 35 billion USD in 2011. 2008 will witness the entry of new international brands in India. This will enhance layout of the domestic stores with global trends. International style malls will also provide new technology and comfort for the shoppers.

Emerging trend:

Apparel manufacturers now concentrate more on the marketing and branding of their products. A branded product sells itself in the market. Less effort is needed to promote a branded product as the consumer trend now a days is leaning towards acquiring branded items. Some firms seek merging with other firms to sustain in the competitive market. Some other firms, apart from production also move into other functions like, warehousing, entering the retail market etc. Computer aided design systems have also helpful in circulating new and latest fashions across the globe. These advancements in technology and flexible strategies of the apparel industries enable them to meet the growing competition and offer fashionable garments at an acceptable cost.



Apparel industry represents a dynamic sector in the global trade. The performance of Asia-pacific regions like China, India, Hong Kong, Philippines, Indonesia, and Bangladesh in the apparel sector is astounding. China is the largest manufacturer and exporter of apparels. Indias garment export sector has grown substantially since the elimination of quotas. Global exporters look at Turkey, South Korea and Mexico as alternate markets to China. Due to a rebound in FDI, Indonesian market has a healthy pace. Despite the competition from China and India, Bangladeshs performance is noticeable in the post-quota period. Philippines apparel exports have a good market in USA. Consolidation through mergers and acquisitions creates opportunities for economies of scale. Consumer is aware of the current fashion trends through modern medias like television and Internet. New business strategies are adopted by the apparel manufacturers to enhance trade. The industry is expected and estimated to grow in leaps and bounds and generate a considerable amount of revenue and employment in a global perspective.