Abit, the Brazilian Textile and Apparel Industry Association, said the pandemic caused production declines in 2020, with many companies producing masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to avoid shutting down in the period.
The textile and apparel industry closed 2020 with an estimated production of 1.87 million tons of manufactured products; Abit forecast this to increase to 2.09 million tons and 5.81 billion pieces in 2021. This would return the industry to 2019 levels, when the country produced 2.05 million tons and 5.94 billion pieces.
In annual revenue, Abit estimated $55.3 million in textiles and $152.1 billion in clothing will be produced, which will represent, respectively, increases of 10.5 percent and 24 percent compared to 2020.
“The forecast is linked to the maintenance of economic activities in relative normality, in a year in which it will still be necessary to overcome the effects of the health crisis,” Fernando Pimentel, president of Abit, said.
Pimentel noted, however, that if new closures occur because of the pandemic, these numbers may change.
Another highlight was the number of jobs, which after a significant drop in 2020 is expected to grow again in 2021. The expectation is for 25,000 new jobs, around 65 percent of the decline seen last year.
Abit said the textile and apparel sector can contribute to fighting the pandemic by making masks for sale and donation. In 2020, the number of masks produced jumped from 6.5 million to 140 million in four months, with around 140 companies converting their production to meet demand.
Abit represents a production force of 25,200 companies that employ over 1.5 million workers and together generate an annual revenue of $48.3 billion. The Brazilian textile and apparel sector is the fourth largest in the world. It is self-sufficient in cotton production and produces 5.5 billion garments per year, with a focus in beachwear, jeans and homewear. Other segments are also gaining international market share, including women’s wear, men’s wear, children’s wear, fitness and underwear.