- Highlights urgent need of payment platform to engage in e-commerce
- Says few more months of difficulty remain for industry to navigate through
- Says apparel sector will no more be a US $ 5.6bn industry in immediate future
The local apparel sector has stressed the need to establish a stronger online presence to ensure it anchors strong in the post-COVID-19 era and hold a sizable portion of the global fashion industry.
With the core business of Sri Lanka’s apparel sector being the fashion industry, Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) President Arumugampillai Sukumaran said it is essential for the industry to continue to focus on it and urgently put in place a payment platform to engage in e-commerce as a major change.
“It is an absolute necessity when the brick and mortar retailers are losing their prime place in the world of apparel sourcing. COVID-19 cannot disturb the world economy any further. We got to come out of the problem,” Sukumaran told Mirror Business.
Noting that the global supply chain will only change its origin, due to trade wars but will be revitalised with a more Asian focus outside China, he said the local apparel industry is working hard at staying afloat without collapsing to “win the game”.
According to Sukumaran, the true impacts of COVID-19 have not fully presented and there still are few more months of difficulty for the industry to navigate through.
He also pointed out that the global apparel industry would be smaller post COVID-19 than before and it is a reality the industry stakeholders need to understand.
“We need to accept this fact and the challenges that this poses to the industry. We will not be a US $ 5.6 billion industry in the immediate future,” said Sukumaran.
However, he opined that with the changes in technology, increasing value addition to product, changing the way the industry works, Sri Lanka’s apparel sector will continue to be vibrant and relevant.
“I’m sure within the next couple of years the global fashion industry will revert back and we are sustaining the industry to go back to that level,” Sukumaran said.
Sri Lanka earned a record US $ $ 5.3 billion from its apparel exports in 2019, recording a 5.1 percent year-on-year (YoY) increase.
Exports to the EU grew by over 5 percent YoY to reach US $ 2.2 billion while exports to the United States recorded a growth of 3.3 percent YoY to US $ 2.3 billion in 2019. Exports to other markets such as Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Australia and Japan, also grew at a comparatively faster pace. (SAA)