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Industry Talk

Third ITMF survey on impact of coronavirus on global textiles industry

According to ITMF, current orders are down by 41% on average worldwide.

30th April 2020

Knitting Industry
 |  Zurich

Knitwear, Knitted Outerwear, Intimate Apparel, Hosiery/​Socks, Sports/​Activewear, Swimwear/​Beachwear, Knitted Accessories, Household, Technical Textiles

Between 16-28 April 2020, the International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF) conducted a third survey among ITMF Members and affiliated companies and associations about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic on the global textile value chain, especially on current orders and expected turnover in 2020. In total 600 companies from around the world participated. According to ITMF, current orders are down by 41% on average worldwide.


“Orders in East Asia dropped visibly less (28%) than in all the other regions (40% and more). It can be assumed that this region, which was hit first by the Corona-crisis, is also recovering first from it. Especially China and Korea were able to contain the epidemic successfully. In the last few weeks, most Chinese textile companies have ramped up production significantly. Likewise, off-line retail stores have reopened, and consumption is picking up again in East Asian countries. It remains to be seen what the consumption behaviour will be like in China, Korea and other places once shops are open again,” ITMF comments.

“Expected worldwide turnover in 2020 is down by 33% on average compared to 2019.”


“Companies in Europe are expecting turnover in 2020 to be down by ‘only’ 22%, a figure significantly better than the 33% reported in the second survey. Companies in East Asia are expecting turnover to be down by 26%, which is close to what was reported in the second survey (24%). Companies’ turnover expectations in South East Asia and South Asia on the other hand have deteriorated significantly. These regions were hit later by the Corona-pandemic and hence the full impact was felt with a delay. Compared to 2019, expected turnover for 2020 is down 38% in South East Asia and 31% in South Asia. Turnover expectations in Africa, South America and North America have not changed much since the second survey.”

ITMF goes on to highlight the challenges and opportunities and government support issues:


  • securing enough liquidity
  • supply chain disruption
  • uncertainty


  • increasingly thinking about diversification, currently focusing on medical textiles
  • streamlining organisation and production processes
  • accelerating the reassessment of existing supply chains
  • accelerating digitalisation and investing in sustainable production

Government Support

  • Many companies receive little to no help, even if governments have support policies in place
  • Government support can comprise:
    • loans with low interest rates and deferred repayment
    • delayed tax payments
    • delayed social security payments
    • short-work schemes
    • reduction of power costs
  • The biggest relief comes when retailers/brands discuss adaption to the unwinding crisis with their suppliers instead of cancelling orders unilaterally

Further reading

2nd ITMF survey on impact of coronavirus on global textiles industry

ITMF survey on impact of coronavirus on global textiles industry

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