The apparel industry is resetting to pre-pandemic levels this year as it continues to see the return of saved orders and slowly rehires laid-off workers.
Marites Agoncillo, executive director of the Confederation of Portable Exporters of the Philippines (CONWEP), said the industry is forecasting solid growth of 2-3% this year from 2021 and there are signs of a return to 2019 numbers.
Agoncillo said January-April performance showed a 20% increase in exports from a year ago.
Agoncillo said the industry had seen a drastic decline of up to 40% during the pandemic, losing $500-600 million in exports and laying off up to 40,000 workers, with some factories closing while others consolidated their operations.
After a 9% increase in 2019, exports fell 25% in 2020 to $1.4 billion before falling back to 22% growth to $1.8 billion, still below pre-pandemic values of $1.9 billion.
For the first four months of 2022, apparel exports rose 16% to $266m from $229m last year, while textile exports jumped 9% to $99m from $90m. .7 million. Travel goods saw a 38% rise in exports to $237 million from $172 million, while footwear was still down a little, $31 million from $34 million.
She said the Philippines had started receiving “tailwinds of orders” in 2021 from other Southeast Asian countries that were unable to service exports due to strict lockdowns imposed on their territories. during COVID.
“We think the global economy is getting back on its feet and there’s definitely consumer demand,” Agoncillo said in an interview.
She added that CONWEP has noted an increase in orders for bags and other leather goods like wallets.
The United States remains its largest market with 72% market share.
CONWEP plans to reduce its workforce to 280,000 this year from 240,000 as some factories reopen and resume 90% capacity utilization.