The overall operation of the textile industry has improved. With the release of China's macroeconomic data in March, market worries have eased significantly. According to the data from the National Bureau of Statistics, in March 2020, the industrial added value of the above-scale textile industry declined by 1.1% in real terms year-on-year, a decline of 12.4% compared with that in January-February, and the industrial added value of the textile industry declined by 5.5% year-on-year in March, a significant decrease compared with the 27.2% year-on-year decline in January-February.
Offline retail is down and online spending is better than overall. According to the data from the National Bureau of Statistics, in March 2020, the retail sales of clothing, shoes, hats and knitted fabrics above designated size fell 34.8% year on year, 3.9 percentage points more than that in February. From January to March, online retail sales of "wearable" goods fell 15.1 percent, 3 percentage points less than in January and February. In March, textile and clothing sales still fell sharply, but the decline in online consumption narrowed significantly, and the advantages of new forms of consumption emerged. With the stable situation of the epidemic situation in China, the consumption of physical department stores is expected to gradually recover. According to a survey conducted by the China Association of Department Stores from March 30 to April 3, 60 percent of department stores said passenger flow had recovered more than half. After April, domestic textile clothing consumption is expected to improve marginal.
Textile export decline narrowed, apparel decline deepened. Affected by the spread of the international epidemic, customers in the US and Europe cancelled or postponed the import orders for China's textile and clothing, leading to the decline of China's textile and clothing export in March, which was greatly impacted. According to the latest data from The General Administration of Customs of China, in March 2020, China's textile and garment exports decreased by 15.13% year-on-year, a decrease of 4.7 percentage points compared with that in January-February. Among them, the textile exports decreased by 6.32% year-on-year, a decrease of 13.58 percentage points compared with that in January-February. Clothing exports fell 24.83% year-on-year, an increase of 4.83 percentage points from January to February. To cope with the shortage of external demand, many textile and garment enterprises have taken various self-help measures to reduce risks by turning to online and domestic sales.
Policies to support enterprises to export to domestic sales. Under the current situation of insufficient external demand, a series of policies supporting the shift of foreign trade capacity to the domestic market have been released. The Political Bureau of the CENTRAL Committee of the Communist Party of China （CPC） made it clear at its meeting on April 17 that enterprises should be supported to export to domestic market. For the first time since the outbreak, such language has been used in a press release of such a meeting. The Ministry of Commerce has also put forward a number of measures to help foreign trade enterprises to expand the domestic market. Recently, local governments, home textiles, clothing associations have increased policy publicity and production and marketing docking, building communication platforms, expanding online cooperation channels and other ways to rescue enterprises. At present, enterprises in the textile and garment production concentration areas in Jiangsu, Zhejiang and other parts of the country have started multi-channel marketing, especially through multiple online sales platforms, such as live broadcasting and shopping guide. Textile and garment has become the first category of e-commerce live broadcasting.
Positive factors have emerged in the foreign trade environment. At present, there are signs of a decline in the number of cases in Europe. Many European countries are planning to lift some restrictions on epidemic prevention and control at the beginning of May. Spain, Austria, Denmark, the Czech Republic and other countries have said that they will relax measures to facilitate the resumption of textile and garment exports. The International Monetary Fund （IMF） released its new World Economic Outlook report on April 14, predicting that if the epidemic subsides in the second half of this year, the global economy will grow by 5.8 percent in 2021. Multilateral cooperation is also essential to contain the spread of the epidemic and support a healthy global economic recovery. According to the optimistic economic forecast in 2021, consumption is expected to recover gradually after the worst of the epidemic has passed.
Affected by coVID-19, trade frictions, downward economic pressure and other factors, the textile and garment industry is facing an extremely grim situation, but China still occupies a core position in the global supply chain and industrial chain. As the domestic epidemic situation continues to improve, China's huge domestic market, 5G application development opportunities and other favorable conditions, we have reason to be optimistic about China's domestic market, as well as the further optimization of China's textile manufacturing.