In 2010, China ruled European and US markets for apparel and obtained 40% of the import volume in each region. According to a recent survey, 86% of the chief purchasing officers in giant apparel businesses in Europe and the United States wanted to reduce the levels of sourcing in China in the coming 5 years due to the fading profit margins and capacity limitations.
Though Western buyers are counting on many sourcing options in the East and Southeast Asian regions, many top-ranked purchasing officials opined that Bangladesh is steadily emerging as the new sourcing hotspot for apparel and ready-made garments. What is the reason behind the growing popularity of Bangladesh sourcing in the apparel industry? The brief answer is “a bunch of opportunities”.
In 2010, readymade garments occupied about $15 billion in exports. Hence, the ready-made garment industry has been the most sought out industry in Bangladesh for the last few years; they occupy 13 % and more than 75% of the GDP and total exports. The apparel market in Bangladesh has doubled in 2015 and tripled in 2020 making the predictions of the Mckinsey survey true. The same survey has also discovered that European and US companies having an eye on the apparel market’s value, are trying to expand the share of their sourcing in Bangladesh.
Midmarket brands that earn 13 % of their sourcing value in Bangladesh, are all set to increase the share to 20-25 %. The growth in the latest product category will boost some of the increases while 63% of the chief purchasing officers expressed their interest in working on more voguish and cosmopolitan products, such as formal wear and partywear.
Several studies have identified attractive prices as the main reason for booming sourcing in Bangladesh. The price levels may become highly competitive in the coming future, as they want remarkable efficiency increases to control the hiking wage costs.
Capacity is another reason that is making Bangladesh favourite sourcing destination for European and US businesses. With 4.62 thousand garment factories in Bangladesh, the country is no doubt posing greater challenges to other Southeast Asian suppliers. It also provides an impressive level of quality, especially in value and entry-level mid-market products.
Bangladesh faces some transportation bottlenecks that consume much time and delay deliveries to customers. This issue may take even a worse form in the coming days. Buyers do not like long lead times, and it may discourage many western investors.
Nongovernmental and other organizations review Bangladesh for labour and issues related to social compliances. Though many companies have found a remarkable improvement in standards in the last five years, environmental compliance is something that needs more attention and improvement.
• Supplier’s Performance and Skilled Workforce
Suppliers’ productivity needs further improvement. They should close gaps with other sourcing countries and meet the requirements of new customers looking for more fashionable apparel.
• Raw Materials
Bangladesh does not have a steady supply of natural or artificial fibers. The country depends on imports, and it causes sourcing risks and widens the lead times.
• Economic and Political Atability
Economic instability and political unrest are two great concerns for investors who want to source from Bangladesh. If the government addresses these concerns, Bangladesh sourcing would be the best choice for the apparel brand from all corners of the world.
Bangladesh has all the potentials of becoming the favourite destination of apparel brands; only the key challenges need to be addressed.