Exporters from Tiruppur, the Tamil Nadu town that accounts for 55% of the country’s apparel exports, said global brands have bought low-priced garments like simple t-shirts that cost around $2 per piece, in contrast to fashion garments and jackets priced $8-10 per item that they bought last year during the holiday season.
Traditionally, shoppers in the US and Europe prefer to buy high-priced items during the Christmas and New Year period. “Surprisingly, our overseas bulk buyers say that this year the shoppers are buying items like innerwear and t-shirts, and are not much inclined to costlier garments,” said Raja Shanmugam, managing director of Tiruppur-based knitwear company Warsaw International. Both the US and Europe are struggling with high inflation, caused by a ramp up in demand after the pandemic and supply chain disruptions due to the Russia-Ukraine war, among other reasons.
“Leading global brands have taken low-priced items this year for the holiday season. After the 2008-09 economic crisis, we are witnessing this trend for the first time,” said Shanmugam, also a former president of Tiruppur Exporters Association.
Added K Balakrishnan, partner of Tiruppur-based knitted garment manufacturing and exporting firm Aahana International: “People are talking about lower demand in the US and Europe. We are a supplier to Australia and there too we are facing a similar trend. The situation is gloomy.” KM Subramanian, president of the Tiruppur Exporters Association said, the Christmas and New Year demand this year is down by 40%. “We were hopeful that demand for the holiday season would pick up from September. But unfortunately, that did not happen. The smaller units, in particular, had been hard hit.”