Buyers in the US and Europe are not paying enough for clothing made in India. From 1994 to 2017, the real dollar price paid by American buyers declined 62.81 per cent. The real dollar price of blouses made of synthetic fabric exported to the European Union fell by 31.93 per cent from 2010 to 2017, and the real dollar price paid by buyers for cotton T-shirts slid by 41.4 per cent. At the same time, speed to market has accelerated. From 2012 to 2017, average lead times—that is, the time given to suppliers to source fabric and other inputs and make and ship an order—fell eleven per cent from 87.39 days to 77.67 days. Yet buyers took longer to pay suppliers after orders shipped, stretching the time from 47 to 54 days.
Buyers often change order specifications or sometimes after the start of a production cycle. Workers in India, too, are feeling the pinch. Production targets have moved from daily goals to hourly targets. Verbal abuse and sexual harassment have likewise intensified. Workers are yelled at by their supervisors for not fulfilling production targets. Female workers are sexually harassed and the subject of physical abuse at work. Below-subsistence wages remain a concern.