Bangladesh will remain the top apparel sourcing hotspot for international retailers and brands over the next five years followed by Ethiopia, Myanmar, Vietnam and India.
Being the second largest apparel exporter worldwide after China, Bangladesh exported garments worth $28.14 billion in the last fiscal year, registering 0.20 per cent year-on-year growth. However, with higher demand from retailers and brands, garment exports rebounded again and grew at 14.05 per cent year-on-year in the first two months of the current fiscal year.
The garment sector has improved workplace safety and other compliances after fixing the structural, electrical and fire loopholes. But it still needs to ensure shorter lead times, high standards of compliance, higher productivity and capacity at factory level and competitive prices for remaining the top choice of retailers and brands.
In addition Bangladesh needs to keep an eye on emerging competitors like Ethiopia and Myanmar since they are also coming up with big growth potential. Ethiopia is not a major competitor now. But it could pose a big challenge for Bangladesh in the future as it is receiving a lot of foreign direct investment for producing low-cost basic garment items. Also, while China appears to have passed its zenith as a low-cost sourcing country, it would remain indispensable because of its bigger export value.