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Coronavirus Pandemic: Is Revival of Garment Industry Possible?

Even prior to the Coronavirus crisis, the garment industry across the globe was under severe stress from last couple of years
BY Leo Shastri
Director-Operations & Strategy , Usha Exim Private Limited
Oct 07,2020

No doubt the Coronavirus outbreak has dealt a shattering blow to India’s famous and profit-oriented garment industry. The industry got its first blow when the business was curtailed by the cancellation of bulk exports in the European countries, China and Italy as they were completely engulfed by the deadly infection. Along with their overseas sale, their domestic trade had also started affecting as the cases of COVID-19 begun increasing in India too.

According to the latest report by The New Indian Express, over 10,000 manufacturing units in Tirupur, which employs over 6 lakh people, are now struggling to maintain their workforce. A majority of the workers here are migrant labourers. Tirupur on an average exports garment worth INR 2500 crore every month and the size of its domestic market is also about the same. Businessmen here claim that a majority of the units have not got their due for the last 3-4 months.

Even prior to the Coronavirus crisis, the garment industry across the globe was under severe stress from last couple of years due to deep discounting, damp consumer sentiments and cheaper products flooding the markets. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has further pushed the industry to brink with production lockdowns, severe supply chain disruptions and market closures across both small and large economies.

However, here are some ways the garment industry can revive itself during the pandemic:

Start Working in Essential Product Categories

The Covid-19 has opened opportunities for other ventures such as making essential services - masks, PPEs and other meditech products. The garment industry meanwhile can start investing in such opportunities until the global market gets revived in the next few quarters. This could be a natural evolution for technical textile players.

A Need to Focus on High-growth Product Categories

India has always focused on low-to-medium value added products. However, the time has come when the country should start focusing on high-growth product categories such as manufacturing overcoats, blazers and jackets. As winter is round the corner, the export of these products from china is significantly going to reduce. Therefore, India can put their focus on this category and can revive the garment industry by taking small steps.

India-a Hub of Raw Materials

With supply chain disruption in China, the global textile industry is expected to experience a vacuum for raw materials such as high-value synthetic products in the post COVID-19 era. In such scenario, the Indian textile players can take advantage of this situation as the country is a hub of natural raw materials, consists of a young workforce and end-to-end value chain capabilities. 

Free Trade Agreements

The nation has already exhibited its friendly rapports with various countries, including the United Kingdom, in multiple ways during this crisis. All these steps have cemented the country’s position as a more trusted partner in trade. Hence, it is the time to step up efforts for free trade agreements as it can create many new jobs in the sector.

Digital platform

Social distancing norms have further increased the need of digital mode of business during the novel Coronavirus crisis. A single digital platform needs to be created so that the Indian brands can be promoted in a better way. It will also enable an easy access for the international buyers to connect with the Indian brands. This initiative will popularize the brands to showcase uniqueness and capabilities of the sector.


Author's Bio

After studying filmmaking and working on various small projects in different industries like education and entertainment, Leo Shastri finally decided to go back to his roots and joined the company, Usha Exim Private Limited. As the Director of Operations & Strategy, his role is to ensure everyone is doing their job well right from accounts & logistics to quality control of production. Besides that, he also manages all aspects related to the growth of the organization and its expansion as well as implementation plans.

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