Consumer’s desire for fast fashion continues to grow stronger with each passing year, shows the latest data from FactSet compiled with the data from United Nation’s Comtrade
Using UN customs export data by countries, the report shows, the apparel and footwear industry manufactured and exported goods worth $582,1 billion in 2021. The value of apparel and footwear products manufactured by the industry surged by $47.8 billion compared to levels seen in 2017.
Asia Pacific remains largest exporter with 61% share
Asia Pacific emerged as the leading exporter of apparel and footwear products during the year with exports accounting for 61 per cent of the total. The second highest exporter was Europe with exports constituting 37 per cent of the total.
All the top three exporters of apparels and footwear during the year were Asian. Led by China with exports worth 29,3 per cent totaling $187.6 billion of the total.
The second highest exporter was Vietnam with exports surging by 9.2 per cent with exports worth $58.7 billion. The third highest exporter was Bangladesh with exports increasing by 6.9 per cent to $44.3 billion. These three countries collectively represent nearly half the world’s total exports and three quarters of all Asian exports.
US tops imports of apparel and footwear
The largest importer of apparel and footwear products during the year was the United States that imported 14 per cent of the world’s apparel and footwear exports, totaling $90.2 billion. Of this, 47.1 per cent of goods were imported from China.
Imports from China had been declining since 2017. However, China’s exports rebounded in 2021. From 2017-2018, China’s exports to the US surged though they dropped by 21 per cent again in 2020. In 2021, demand again rebounded strongly, shows the report. ,
As per FactSet Estimates data, growth in Europe was significantly higher than other regions at 35 per cent during 2021. However, this growth is likely to taper down to high-single digits over the next few years.
In contrast, growth in Asia was much more modest last year. Future projections for the region are much flatter resulting in higher expected growth in 2024 than the rest of the world.
Sales of Asian companies recover
Sales of all leading companies in Asia grew marginally upto 2020 before dipping during the year. Sales of these companies have now once again recovered to double of the largest pre-pandemic growth
Sales of median performers grew by low single-digit year-on-year sales growth and a much harsher decline of 16 per cent in 2020. Corporates based in mainland China saw much larger pre-pandemic growth.
Companies based out of Hong Kong but having manufacturing in China saw much larger declines in 2020. Sales of top performers declined by 13 per cent, while those of median performers declined by 22 per cent.
Bad and doubtful debts plague China
China was the worst affected by pre- and post-pandemic levels of bad and doubtful debt. Pre-pandemic, its default levels rose by 3.4 per cent which further spiked to 6.3 per cent in 2020 before dropping to 4.7 per cent last year.
Debt across Asia and Hong Kong remained at slightly high levels in 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels, which further highlights that there may be more work to do in China.