The structure of the textile industry has changed significantly. While a hundred years ago the majority of textile production was concentrated in Europe and North America, most textiles and clothing are now manufactured in Asia, particularly in China and India.
According to Textile Exchange, many international textile and clothing firms have moved production to Asia to take advantage of the rich supply of raw material and cheaper labor. China produces around 45 percent of the world’s textiles and garments, and India makes approximately 20 percent. Pakistan, Vietnam, Cambodia and Bangladesh are also becoming increasingly influential within the structure of the textile industry.
The global textile and apparel market attracts revenues of approximately $500 billion per year and is expected to grow to around $800 billion by 2014, reports Textile Exchange. In terms of the textile industry’s structure, figures from the EU suggest the U.S. continues to be the biggest consumer of textiles and apparel, with a 9.6 percent share. Other major consumers include Turkey, Tunisia, Switzerland, Morocco, China, Russia, Hong Kong, Ukraine and Japan.
The global textile and clothing industry comprises a reasonably long chain. It starts with the polymer, which is used to make the textile fiber. This textile fiber becomes a yarn; either by being spun with other fibers of the same type, or with one or more different fiber types to give it a wider range of properties. The yarn can then be used alone or combined with other yarns to make a fabric, which then becomes a garment, home furnishing or other textile item. Some textile companies cover all of these phases, but the majority work with other industry partners within the textile supply chain.