Apparel production

Is apparel manufacturing coming home?

Von Johanna Andersson, Achim Berg, Saskia Hedrich, Patricio Ibanez und Karl-Hendrik Magnus


Nearshoring: Faster delivery advantage – automation allows for bringing it home– the trend also improves supplier sustainability

Low wages have made China and Southeast Asia unrivalled locations for garment production – but the tide is now starting to turn. A pair of jeans produced in Turkey, for instance, currently cost 3 percent less than in China, when adding together production, transport, and import costs. The same goes for the North American market. A pair of jeans from Mexico shows even 12 percent lower total costs. For some garments with lower-cost production, it now makes sense to nearshore production to Europe or North America. But the main reason for so-called nearshoring is the extremely shorter delivery times it enables, which allows apparel companies to react to trends more quickly and be more agile in aligning collections. A garment from Southeast Asia can take up to 30 days to transport by sea to Western markets – whereas transport from Turkey to Germany takes only three to six days. The garment can even make its way from Mexico to the US in just two days.