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Web Exclusive | March 2017

Bangla makes huge strides in denim

Bangladesh has overtaken China to become the largest denim supplier to the European Union -- a development that would give confidence to the country's garment sector as it looks to hit $50 billion in exports by 2021. In the January-June period of 2016, Bangladesh exported €567.97 million worth of denim products to the 28-nation bloc -- enough to secure a 21.18 per cent market share, the highest. The country has also become the third largest denim supplier -- after China and Mexico -- to the US.  It exported $186.30 million worth of denim products to the US, registering a 12.03 per cent market share, eclipsed only by China (26.04 per cent) and Mexico (25.40 per cent).

In terms of denim sales, the US and the UK are two major markets of Bangladesh. Almost 70 percent of the population in the US wear denim products regularly, according to industry insiders. An average consumer owns seven denim products at any given time, they said. Over in the UK, one of the largest clothing markets in Europe, each consumer owns an average of 17 denim garments. Bangladeshi entrepreneurs supply denim products to major global retailers including Levi's, Diesel, G-Star RAW, H&M, Uniqlo, Tesco, Wrangler, s.Oliver, Hugo Boss, Walmart, and Gap.

Annually 2.1 billion pieces of denim are sold globally, according to Bangladesh Denim Expo, the organiser of the exposition. In 2014, the size of the global denim market stood at $56.20 billion. By 2020, the global denim market will reach $64.1 billion, while Bangladesh's denim export is forecast to reach $7 billion by the end of 2021. It is estimated that the global denim market will grow by about 8 per cent a year until 2020.

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