The global knitwear market consists of global knitwear apparel brands and a large number of knitwear apparel sellers and re-sellers. The market is highly fragmented. Global knitwear brands such as Gap Inc. and Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and major activewear brands such as Adidas AG and Nike Inc.focus on research & development, design, logistics (purchasing and distribution), marketing and branding, and service to improve their position in the market.
These companies have outsourced the manufacturing of knitwear, which has low value addition in the overall knitwear value chain, to low-cost Asia Pacific countries such as China, Bangladesh, and India. For example, in 2017, Adidas AG manufactured 97.0% of its apparel in Asia Pacific and only 2% of its production took place in the U.S. and one percent in Europe. Similarly, Nike manufactures all its apparel outside the U.S. through independent contract apparel vendors. In 2017, apparel contract factories located in China, Vietnam, and Thailand manufactured 26.0%, 18.0%, and 10.0%, respectively of the company’s total apparel production. Thus, Asia Pacific has become a prominent manufacturer and exporter of knitwear apparel. China, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and other South Asian and East Asian countries are major exporters of knitwear products across the globe.
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Thus, Asia Pacific has become a prominent manufacturer and exporter of knitwear apparel. China, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and other South Asian and East Asian countries are major exporters of knitwear products across the globe.
North America imports almost all of its knitwear products from Asia Pacific. Rising demand for branded innerwear from U.S. based brands such as Victoria’s Secret is increasing in the U.S. and other North American countries. Demand for sportswear is also rising in North America.
Knitwear is still manufactured in Europe but in lesser quantity. The unit cost to manufacture knitwear is high in the U.K. due to high wages; but many British designers prefer to manufacture in the U.K. due to short lead time and flexibility in minimum order quantity.
Although R&D and design of knitwear are majorly done outside Asia Pacific, the dominant knitwear manufacturing is done in China, India, Bangladesh, and Vietnam. The knitwear market is rising in India due to growth in the number of organized knitwear retailers selling branded knitwear products.
There is a rising demand for branded knitwear in the MEA. With approximately 62.0% of its population being young and middle-aged, the region imports knitwear products worth US$ 3.5 billion annually. Knitwear exporters such as Bangladesh export knitwear to the UAE to increase its knitwear revenue.