• 2021-10-18

When the COVID pandemic first hit, the textile industry was one of the first to feel its effects. After all, China was grappling with the impact of the virus had slowed production to an almost halt. This disruption in the textile supply chain affected machinery, automotive, and communication aspects in the industry. In no time, the textile industry was experiencing a drop in volume and revenue. Most people were stuck at home and did not need to dress it up as they usually would. They thus stopped ordering as many fashion products as they did before. They could now work from home clad in pajamas and yoga pants, which did not help the fashion industry much. However, companies dealing with household goods suffered a boost as more people invested in bedding and other household products. They realized that if they were stuck working from home, they might as well make it as comfortable as it could be.

How Did COVID Affect the Global Textile Industry?

The supply chain disruption was the first to hit the industry. Production in major hubs like China slowed, followed by shop closures all around the world. Textile companies and retailers could no longer go about business as usual and were not considered essential services. European and American retailers, the main markets for textile products, reacted by canceling their orders from source countries. Suppliers were at a loss on how to enforce contracts with these retailers who were trying to stay afloat despite the lack of business. With ‘Force Majeure’ arguments arising, it was hard for the suppliers and retailers to remain on the same page.

Logistic challenges were also prevalent during the pandemic. The textile industry is largely time sensitive. Retailers want to receive their goods in time to dispatch them to their ready customers. Lags in arrivals may cost the retailers loyal customers, which results in reduced profits -, which also operates as and is one such company that more than understands that such an irregularity can affect their business. However, during the pandemic, most retailers had no choice but to deal with dwindling stocks coupled with delays in delivery times.

Will The Textile Industry Recover?

For the better part of 2020 and 2021, textile industries were forced to rethink their operations. They restructured their sourcing and distribution channels and made do with digital solutions as they hoped that the pandemic would soon be a thing of the past. Retailers quickly ensured that their ordering and delivery processes were convenient to their clientele. Towards the second quarter of 2021, there was an increase in export sales. However, imports from China and the UK had slowed due to reduced demand in Europe. Brexit's politics also did not help matters, and retailers were unsure which way the winds would blow. They did not have to wait long because most textile industries started gearing up for operations towards the end of the second quarter. More people sought employment in the sector, and the production levels began increasing.

By October 2021, there was a glimmer of hope that the textile industry was on its way to recovery. It has beat its 2019 4 th quarter level by a good 3.6%, giving retailers hope that they would soon be inching closer to their pre-pandemic sales. Will this positive change last? A recent report by EURATEX shows that the increased cost of energy, raw materials, and shipping might hamper this growth. Moreover, there’s a shortage in labor and equipment, which could slow production.

Is There a Light at The End of The Tunnel?

While the COVID pandemic ravaged numerous economic sectors, bringing them to their knees, it also highlighted the resilience in most industries. The textile industry is one of these whose current recovery, despite the supply chain and production cost deterrents, inspires retailers and manufacturers. Even as the COVID pandemic continues to ravage the economy, there’s a glimmer of hope that the textile industry will soon be on its feet.