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Textile Orders Down 31 Percent Worldwide, ITMF Survey Shows

Further evidence of the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the textile supply chain is found in a new survey among members and affiliated companies and associations of the International Textile Manufacturers Association (ITMF).

Conducted between March 28 and April 6, the second survey ITMF documenting the impact of the pandemic’s effect on the global textile value chain showed that companies in all regions of the world have suffered significant numbers of cancellations and postponements of orders.

The survey that included 700 companies from around the world said current orders were down 31 percent on average. The severity of the decreases ranged from down 20 percent in East Asia to a 41 percent drop-off in South America.

The results showed that companies in all regions of the world are expecting their sales in 2020 to be significantly lower than in 2019. On world average, the sales decline in 2020 is expected to be 28 percent below 2019 levels. In South Asia, the decrease in orders is expected to be around 15 percent, while companies in Africa are expecting a drop of as much as 45 percent.

Three weeks ago, when ITMF conducted a similar survey, some regions were not fully affected by COVID-19, but the new numbers on orders and sales reveal the dramatic extent this demand shock has had on the textile industry globally. Respondents said the uncertainty about the duration of the crisis weighs heavily on the industry.

The key challenges included lack of demand and company liquidity, while the top opportunities lie in medical textile products, as evidenced by many companies pivoting their production to manufacture such products as medical masks and gowns.

To that end, companies surveyed noted that producing fibers, yarns, fabrics and end-products with health care and protection functions now represents a key business opportunity.

The results of the third ITMF survey examining the pandemic’s impact on the global textile industry will be released on April 23.