Cambodia's prosperous knits and sweatshirts industry

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Cambodia, with its intricate designs and thriving textile industry, has become a notable name in the global garments sector. Remarkably, figures shared by Trading Economics in 2022 revealed that textile goods account for about 70% of the nation’s total exports, painting a picture of its immense contribution to the national economy. Among these, a significant portion can be attributed to knit sweaters made in the country. One might wonder why. Part of the answer lies in the global demand for eco-friendly clothes.

The demand for knitwear: drivers and opportunities

As many consumers worldwide become more environmentally conscious, knitwear manufacturers worldwide have been quick to jump on the bandwagon of adopting eco-friendly, natural textile materials in knitwear production. In fact, major knitwear factories are harnessing innovative knitting machines and high-tech solutions to align with current market trends and demand. Such endeavours, in turn, drive up sales growth in the industry for knitted clothing, with the knitwear market projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6% from 2022 to 2031, as per a report by Transparency Market Research Inc.

Meanwhile, knitwear is also increasingly used in sports garments. This is because knitwear’s soft texture surpasses that of woven fabrics, expanding its usage. Being naturally wrinkle-resistant and breathable, it ensures that athletes stay well insulated and aerated, maintaining optimal comfort during exertion. Besides how knitwear is used in sports, there are also brands like Lyle & Scott and Lovers FC that have creatively manufactured knitwear jumpers and shirts featuring streetwear aesthetics, further adding to the renewed interest.

What these mean for a country like Cambodia that exports such goods is a similar rise in opportunities for local businesses in the textiles and clothing industry. Notably, Cambodian knitwear, especially sweaters, has found a promising market in China, claiming a prominent position among China's top imports from the nation in October 2022 and raking in US$5.71 million, as reported by Kiripost.

The Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) further bolsters this relationship. With China offering favourable trade conditions for 97.53% of Cambodia's exports – one of the highest levels of bilateral trade agreements, this presents lucrative opportunities for Cambodian businesses when they export goods to China. And the prospects aren't limited to China. The United States (US), another significant trade partner, imported knitwear worth US$12.2 billion from Cambodia in 2022, marking a 40% surge from the previous year, as the US Census Bureau documented.

Success stories in Cambodia’s knitwear production

Besides trade figures, Cambodia has also incubated various success stories, especially in the realm of sustainable fashion. Harnessing innovation, resourcefulness, and a genuine concern for the environment, these businesses have propelled Cambodian knitwear products to the global stage.

One such brand is tonlé. Committed to a zero-waste philosophy, this brand reclaims pre-consumer textile waste from markets and suppliers in Phnom Penh and spins scraps into yarns. The tonlé team then crafts the gathered fabrics into exquisite garments with unique patterns through meticulous hand weaving and knitting techniques. From shawls and sweaters tailored for fall and winter's cold weather to everyday wear, the distinct style and brand identity embedded in each piece of clothing set the brand apart on the global stage.

Another case study is a sustainable fashion brand, FAIR WEAVE, which seamlessly melds art and nature through the knitted and handwoven clothes they create. From scarves that remind you of a serene sunset to dresses that echo the rustic beauty of the earth, every knitted or handwoven uses natural fibres and dyes. Coupled with FAIR WEAVE’s unyielding commitment to ethical production practices, every creation not only looks good but feels good for the wearer and the planet.

Such endeavours by Cambodian businesses highlight the potential opportunities offered to the country's apparel and textile industry as global demand pivots towards eco-friendly fashion.

Overcome logistics challenges in knitwear export with DHL Express

If your business is looking to tap into these opportunities to export your knitted garments, handling complex international logistics with precision becomes paramount. This is particularly vital when dealing with seasonal clothing like pullovers, sweaters, and hoodies, where demand wanes as the season concludes. This necessitates an impeccable logistics solution, and partnering with leading logistics providers, such as DHL Express Cambodia, can give you the required edge.

With their rich industry experience and expansive global delivery network, DHL Express promises timely deliveries and ensures your goods arrive in impeccable condition. Through value-added offerings like real-time tracking, the parcel status updates your customers receive also help foster trust in your company’s service, bolstering your brand's reputation in the international market.

As the fashion industry gears up for a shift towards sustainability, while knitwear products find increasing uses in the market, the appeal of knitwear continues to grow. By tapping into this rising demand and ensuring your company’s adeptness at meeting it, you position yourself advantageously in the global market.

Sign up for a business account today with DHL Express to leverage our solutions for the fashion and textiles industries to weave a global success story for your company.