Global Textile Industry Analysis
The world textile manufacturing industry involves the conversion of fiber into yarn, which is then developed into fabric and textiles. Textiles are used to make clothing by spinning, finishing and coloring fabric and to make other products such as mattresses, carpets, curtains and fiberglass for mirrors and windows. According to the World Trade Organization, worldwide textile exports generate more than $200 billion annually.
Manufacturers and producers of textile products are diversifying to meet multi-faceted demand for apparel. Clothing is increasingly specialized with different demands for men’s, women’s wear, children’s wear and sportswear. While most textile production traditionally involved processes carried out by hand, an increasing degree of automation and technological innovation has led to greater textile output and a higher speed of production. Hi-tech contribution to the industry has allowed textiles to be incorporated into the medical and aviation industries, used in the production of heart stents, body armor and aircraft.
Cotton is the number one natural fiber in the world, with 25 million tons produced worldwide throughout 50 countries. Cotton is planted between September and November, and harvested in the spring. The stages in cotton production are cultivating and harvesting, preparation, spinning, weaving and finishing. “Ginning” cotton involves the separating out of seeds from fiber. Only around one third of cotton crops are usable as lint, or ginned cotton fiber. Around a quarter of the insecticide produced in the world is used in cotton farming. More than half the pesticides produced in India are used to treat the country’s 5% cotton-bearing land.
Key Regional Textile Markets
China: Dominating the global industry, China’s textile market is worth in excess of $700 billion and is set to continue to expand, according to research from Netscribes. The market is driven by strong domestic demand, inexpensive labor and expansion in the retail industry.
The textile market in India represents close to 15%, or 4% of the country’s gross domestic product, reaching almost $51.5 billion. The textiles industry represents close to a fifth of India’s exports revenue and employs 35 million people.
US: According to a report from analysts at Supplier Relations US, the US textile industry is worth more than $716 million, with over $1 billion in imports from 55 countries. The US textile industry exports goods to a value of around $0.7 billion to almost 150 countries throughout the world. It represents close to $30 billion of the gross domestic product, with over 1.5 billion pounds of cotton grown and consumed by the country’s textile industry. Over the past decade, the US has invested in excess of $15 billion in its textile industry, and is the world’s number-three exporter of textiles. The main challenge facing the US textile industry is overseas production because of the low labor-cost potential in India and China, which may oblige US textile companies to move part of their operations to these countries to remain competitive. On the domestic front, the US textile industry will likely concentrate on specialized markets and non-woven fabrics.