Bangladesh remains second largest garments exporter, against all odds

Bangladesh is the second largest apparel exporter in the world, after China. The market share of Bangladesh, in the $503 billion global garment items is 5.1 percent, according to data from the International Trade Statistics of the World Bank in 2014.

China’s market share is 38.6 percent and Vietnam and India share 3.7 percent. However, China has been losing its market share mainly due to higher cost of production and shortage of skilled workforce in China.

Bangladesh is one of the major beneficiary countries of shifting work orders from China.

Following such shift, Bangladesh’s export of garment items is on the rise as the global apparel retail giants are also increasing the volume of work orders for quality garment at competitive prices.

Bangladesh exported garment items worth $25.50 billion in 2014-15 fiscal and the earning from garment export during first 11 months (July-May) of the current fiscal year is $25.08 billion.

Only five items covered 78.59 percent or $20.04 billion of the total garment export earnings at $25.50 billion in 2014-15 fiscal. The five items include shirts, trousers, jackets and sweaters.

The target for the fiscal was set at $27.37 billion. Almost all major retailers has been increasing their volume of work orders in Bangladesh.

Currently, the Swedish retail giant H&M is the largest apparel buying company from Bangladesh which purchases nearly $3billion in a year. The H&M mainly purchases T-shirts, cotton trousers both for males and females, woven shirts, jackets and sweaters.

After the H&M, the US retail giant Walmart purchases more than $2.5 billion worth of garment items. Walmart also buys T-shirts, kidswears, trousers both for males and females and sweaters.

The other major retailers are Li&Fung purchases nearly $1.5 billion worth of mainly trousers, T-shirts, shirts and sweaters. The British retailer Primark buys $1.0 billion worth of jeans pants, shirts and other denim products from Bangladesh in a year.

The Spanish retailer Inditex buys nearly $1.5 billion worth of women’s wear and trousers and under its different brands like Zara, Lefties and Bershka. C&A purchases more than $800 million in a year.

Few years ago, the German’s posh brand Hugo Boss started sourcing from Bangladesh from limited number of very compliant garment factories.

Although the purchaser volume of Hugo Boss is not so high, however, it is good news for Bangladesh that such a posh brand also started sourcing from Bangladesh.

The company is increasing its volume in the country every year with the improvement of the working environment and compliance practices. Hugo Boss mainly purchases T-shirts and formal shirts from Bangladesh.

Another Germany posh brand Olymp also started sourcing formal shirts from Bangladesh. The company’s purchase volume is not so high, but the manufacturers supply high-quality men’s shirts to this high-end customers.

Other important retailers those which source nearly $1 billion worth of garment items each from Bangladesh include Tesco, M&S, Gap, Nike, VF Asia, Levi’s and Adidas.

Source: The Daily Star research