India’s T&C Exports In 2021 Surpassed Pre-Covid Levels


India’s textile and clothing (T&C) goods are quite in demand in the international market. The sector’s exports grew by 39.6% to US$ 41,469.20 million in 2021 over the previous year.

However, 2020 does not afford a very good comparison as the pandemic and the lockdowns had impacted manufacturing, consumer spending, orders and payments, with the result that exports were in free fall. Comparing 2021 export data to that of 2019 thus would give a better understanding of the current market dynamics.

Compared to 2019, India’s T&C exports in 2021 have improved to pre-lockdown levels. Exports in 2021 registered a growth of 16.9%. Cotton is now the top exported commodity with export of US$ 10026.99 million and a growth of 67.11% in 2021 compared to 2019 cotton exports. Country-wise, USA remains the top export market for India’s T&C goods.

Cotton is now the largest export commodity in T&C
In 2021, cotton textiles have overtaken woven apparel as the top commodity in the sector. Bangladesh is the top market for Indian cotton. Cotton exports to Bangladesh totaled to US$ 3736.54 million in 2021 with a growth of 141.79% over 2019 period. China which remains as the second largest export market for Indian cotton registered a growth of 61.5% to US$ 1686.83 million in 2021 over 2019 exports.

Vietnam, Indonesia, Turkey, Guatemala and Nigeria are the growing markets for Indian cotton. These countries witnessed a growth of 147.7%, 178%, 136.1%, 179.8 and 198% respectively. Under the cotton segment, cotton yarn is highest exported commodity. The exports of cotton yarn totaled to US$ 4919.76 million with a growth of 68.8% in 2021 over 2019 year. The commodity stakes 49% share from the total cotton exports of India.

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Raw cotton exports increased by 150% to US$ 2854.41 million, while woven fabric of cotton witnessed a growth of 15.7% to US$ 2251.52 million in 2021 over 2019.

Apparel Exports Are Down
The total apparels exports were down by 6.4% to US$ 15205.91 million in 2021 over 2019 exports. Knitted apparels leads in the segment and is the second largest exported commodity in the sector.

Knitted apparel exports totaled to US$ 7869.08 million with a drop of 0.16% and stakes 18% share from the total T&C exports. USA remains as the top market for knitted apparels, exports totaled to US$ 2504.67 million with growth of 22.4% in 2021 over 2019 exports. Currently, USA stakes 32% share from the total knitted apparel exports of India.

Most of the leading markets for Indian knitted apparel like UAE, UK, Germany, France, Saudi Arabia and Spain have registered a drop in the exports in 2021 compared to 2019 exports.

Knitted cotton t-shirts which is the largest exported product under this segment, has witnessed a drop of 13.2% in 2021 to US$ 1698.16 million. Cotton babies garments exports rose by 11.5% to US$ 790.54 million.

Woven apparel exports dropped by 12.33% to US$ 7336.83 million. The commodity stakes 18% share from the total T&C exports. Here too USA remains the largest market. Woven apparel exports to USA totaled to US$ 2277.02 million with small drop of 0.9% in 2021 over 2019 exports. There has been a huge drop in markets like UK, Germany, Spain, Saudi Arabi, Japan and Italy.

Nearly half of the products under the woven apparel have witnessed a drop in exports. Men’s and boy’s cotton shirts which has always been the most exported product has witnessed a major decline. Exports were down by by 31.2% to US$ 570.78 million, and is the second largest export product under woven apparel.

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Cotton dresses is the top product, with an export value of US$ 624.74 million, registering a growth of 8.26% in 2021 over 2019 exports. During the pandemic year the export of cotton dresses had touched to US$ 464.60 million.

Indian carpet exports may rise in future
Indian carpets and other textile floor coverings have performed quite well in the international market. Carpet exports totaled to US$ 2263.99 million, registering a growth of 32.09% in 2021. USA remains as the top market for Indian carpet products. USA witnessed a growth of 33.34% to US$ 1287.11 million. With the increasing demand from the countries, there are chances that Indian exporters would ship higher volumes to Germany, UK, Australia, Sweden, France too.

India’s top T&C markets
Country-wise, USA is the top export market for India’s T&C products. The exports to USA totaled to US$ 10802.57 million with growth of 28% in 2021 over 2019 exports. USA has increased its share by 2% now with 26% share from the total T&C exports of India.

Growth-wise, textile fabrics and knitted fabrics have received the maximum growth of 172.4% and 166.9% respectively. Volume-wise, other made-ups textiles is the largest exported commodity with a share of 32% from the total India’s T&C exports to USA.  The commodity perceived a growth of 39.7% to US$ 3459.22 million.

The exports of knitted apparel totaled to US$ 2504.51 million with growth of 22.41% in 2021 over 2019 exports. Woven apparels exports witnessed a decline of 0.9% to US$ 2276.79 million with share of 21%. There has been a substantial increase in exports of carpets, around US$ 1286.98 million worth goods were exported to USA.

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Bangladesh remains the second largest export destination for India’s T&C goods. The country had perceived a growth of 107.2% in 2021 over 2019 exports. Exports to Bangladesh in 2021 totaled to US$ 4259.53 million. Cotton exports to Bangladesh rose by 141.7% to US$ 3735.03 million in 2021 over the 2019 exports. The commodity stakes 88% share in Indian T&C exports to Bangladesh.

T&C exports to China registered a growth of 46.5% to US$ 2055.03 million in 2021 over 2019. Cotton exports to China perceived a growth of 61.53% to US$ 1686.83 million. From the top ten countries, UK, Germany, France and Spain have registered a negative growth of 9.1%, 3.4%, 2% and 14.2% respectively.


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