Garment exports to the US rose by 5.83 percent year-on-year to $4.17 billion in the nine months to September thanks to the increasing Christmas spending by the Americans and the ongoing US-China trade war.
The North American clothing retailers and brands have been placing more work orders after gaining confidence from the near complete factory safety inspection and remediation run by the Accord and Alliance, exporters said.
US consumers will spend an average of $1,007.24 during the holiday season this year, up 4.1 percent from $967.13 they spent last year, according to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
Based in Washington, the National Retail Federation (NRF) is the world's largest retail trade association.
The growth of garment export to the US indicates that Bangladesh is becoming a lucrative destination for the American retailers and brands following the US-China trade war, as predicted by analysts earlier.
“The holidays are just around the corner and consumers are ready to shop,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said.
“Confidence is near an all-time high, unemployment is the lowest we've seen in decades and take-home wages are up. All of that is reflected in consumers' buying plans,” Shay said in a NRF statement recently.
“Retailers expect strong demand this year, and are prepared with a wide array of merchandise while offering strong deals and promotions during the busiest and most competitive shopping season of the year.”
Tariffs on a wide range of consumer goods from China came into effect last month but Shay noted that retailers had imported record volumes of merchandise in advance this summer.
“The effect on pricing during the holiday season is expected to be minimal.”
The consumer survey comes on top of the NRF's annual holiday spending forecast, which takes into account a variety of economic factors to project overall spending rather than per-consumer spending. The forecast estimated that holiday retail sales in November and December will be up between 4.3 percent and 4.8 percent over 2017 for a total between $717.45 billion and $720.89 billion.
Consumers will spend in three main categories during the holidays – gifts, at $637.67; non-gift holiday items such as food, decorations, flowers and greeting cards, at $215.04; and other non-gift purchases that take advantage of the deals and promotions throughout the season, at $154.53, according to the NRF statement. The overall export to the US also increased during this time.
In January-September period, overall export to the US increased by 6.34 percent year-on-year to $4.69 billion, according to data from the US Census Bureau.
“We are expecting 10-15 percent growth in garment export to the US as the economy is rebounding there. Some 5 to 6 percent apparel export growth to the US is a normal growth,” said Siddiqur Rahman, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
Rahman said Bangladesh has been sending garment items facing 15.62 percent duty whereas the duty for other garment exporting nations was relatively low. “Still, we are competitive in the US markets,” said Rahman.
For many years, the US was the single largest garment export destination for the country, but last year Germany became the number one destination. However, if the export growth of the garment items continues at this pace, there is a chance of the US again becoming the largest apparel export destination for Bangladesh, Rahman said.