Sports apparel has gained a lot of traction in Bangladesh with increased health awareness and fitness activities among consumers. Growing demand for trendy and fashionable sports apparel both among adults and kids is expected to drive future growth of the sportswear market in Bangladesh. Leading sportswear brands in the country are developing suitable and comfortable products like jersey, trouser, sneakers, sweatshirts, jacket, coat, hoodie, jogger, shorts, sports bra, leggings, etc. Shoppers’ demand for eco-friendly options is driving Nike, Adidas to use recycled leather, plastic, and plant-derived materials in making sportswear items. Bangladesh also outsources sports attire. The country has been selling good quality sports apparels at cheap rates to global buyers for the last 30 years.
Grabbing a slice of the pie
Besides jersey, Bangladesh supplies several types of high-end functional sports and activewear for different renowned football, cricket, badminton, golf clubs in the USA, EU and other countries. As per BGMEA, the country exported about $100 million worth of goods for the 2018 World Cup football. Recently, Mondol Group exported 20,000 pieces of jerseys for a Hummel buyer. The group is currently negotiating for 1.5 lakh sports item order worth at $1 million for Tottenham supporters, said Mahadi Hasan, Assistant Merchandise Manager, Alim Knit BD (Mondol Group).
Similarly, the Envoy Group has invested Tk 500 crore in Gazipur on 50 bighas of land to produce specialized garment items, including sportswear, wind jackets, swimwear. DBL Group, Youngone Group, Viyellatex Group, Epyllion Group, Windy Group, AJI Group, Mondol Group and hundreds of millers in the country are vying to grab a share in the country’s sportswear market. In 2019, leading German sportswear brand Puma entered Bangladesh in collaboration with the DBL Group. Sportswear brand Decathlon has also set up an outlet in Dhaka. To increase incomes of local citizens, Bangladesh industry experts are encouraging more foreign brands to open outlets in the country
Addressing the shortcomings
Advanced technology and relevant technical skills make Bangladesh a leading sportswear market. However, the country needs to improve its product innovation and design. Also, it has huge textile mills for manufacturing different types of woven and knit fabrics. However, they lag due to insufficient synthetic thread supply. As BTMA reveals, Bangladesh has 425 spinning mills but only 5-6 of its spinners can produce synthetic yarn. Hence, the country is forced to import synthetic yarns and fabrics, especially from China.
To reduce import-dependence, Bangladesh needs to set up more manmade yarns and fabric mills by using existing set up of the latest machines and manpower with proper training. Even though Bangladesh is the second-largest garment exporter, it has little presence in global sportswear market. On the other hand, China and Vietnam continue to dominate the market. The Bangladesh government needs to take up a project to build a specialized sportswear making zone in the country.