The apparel sector has been a significant part of the global economy, as it is positively affected by global occurrences and dynamic trends. With Asia-Pacific as the largest contributor in the industry, the value of the global apparel manufacturing market in 2020 amounted to USD 948.2 billion, which was 5.1% higher than that of the previous year.
Furthermore, the market size of the apparel market is projected to hit USD 992 billion in 2021. Despite its upward trend, this industry is still trailing behind other sectors. Thus, to keep up, the apparel industry needs to adopt digital transformation.
The Overview of Digital Transformation
Digitalization has been an inevitable trend lately, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic. The global digital transformation technologies and services spending is expected to rise to USD 1.3 trillion, recording a 10.4% increase from 2019. The COVID-19 outbreak will further expedite digital acceleration.
Apparel Industry: Issues and Solutions
The apparel industry has grown so much from time to time that the number of consumers demanding fast fashion keeps increasing. However, many apparel brands are still engaged in the traditional manufacturing process. The rising labor market in China and other parts of Southeast Asia also hinders the industry from dominating it.
Amongst others, apparel factories are quite positively affected by the pandemic, forcing many factories to shut down. As factories were closed down, the apparel industry lost 70% of its functions and faced a 27% decrease in total sewing machine operating hours across countries. The industry will not keep up with the rapidly changing market unless they address these issues right away.
According to the latest white paper developed by YCP Solidiance and Brother Machinery (Asia) Limited titled “Digital Transformation in Apparel Industry: How to Improve Efficiency in Apparel Factory Supply Chain”, these issues can be addressed effectively by digitalization. The existence of e-commerce platforms, the adoption of the 4.0 industry, and the widespread IoT knowledge envision a future for Asian countries to innovate the apparel industry with digital transformation technologies.
How Digitalization Help the Apparel Industry to Save Costs
Instead of cutting down the labor cost, digital transformation processes allow the apparel industry to enhance its production efficiency. This is supported by the development of hardware technologies combined with other technologies to advance the manufacturing process. Digitalization benefits the industry by reducing the cost to 88%, resulting in a 5% production increase.
Shifting into digital will also benefit apparel manufacturers. It leads to a more efficient supply chain process, allowing business players to have improved product design and planning, less additional production lead times, established automated warehouses to support the distribution, and fewer product shortages.