Garment exports from India have witnessed a steady growth from about $5 bn in 2001-02 to $13.7 bn in 2011-12, according to Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCI&S), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. Apparel exports jumped from $5 bn in 2001-02 to $6.4 bn in 2004-05, $8.3 bn in 2005-06, $10.3 bn in 2008-09 and $11.3 bn in 2009-10. In 2011-12, India’s apparel exports grew by 18 per cent year-on-year to $13.7 bn over exports worth $11.6 bn posted in 2010-11.
Explaining the reasons for the Indian apparel exports registering a positive growth continuously in the recent past, Amit Gugnani, Senior Vice-President, Fashion and Textile, Technopak, said the Indian apparel export industry is an independent and self-reliant industry. “The clothing sector does not depend on raw material imports. Abundant raw material availability domestically helps the sector to control costs and reduce lead time across the operation. Secondly, the availability of skilled manpower, at a cost lower than China, has provided competitive advantage to the Indian apparel industry,” he continues.
“Further, the Indian garment sector enjoys manufacturing flexibility, which helps it in catering to demand across various fashion categories,” he avers. Around 70 per cent of India’s garment exports are towards its traditional markets of the US and the EU. However, owing to the ongoing financial crisis in these countries, apparel exporters are currently on the look out for new markets.
“The new markets that could be explored are Brazil, Russia, Australia, and maybe China, among others,” Gugnani opines. Despite the financial woes troubling the US and the EU economies, some Indian clothing exporters have been doing well, while others have been feeling the pressure of reduced volumes.
“Largely, vertically integrated suppliers and the ones who have developed large capacities will gain in the coming years. Moreover, supplier consolidation has been a key trend with most retailers. So, suppliers who are more reliable on delivery and quality, have lower lead times, are flexible in handling a variety of styles and have lean operations, will continue to gain in future,” he concludes.