A long history of production, innovation and adaptation has placed textile and clothing amongst the leading industries in Germany. They take second place only to food and drink on the German market.
The German industry is, primarily, composed of small and medium sized companies which, over recent decades, has seen a transformation from low-cost high-volume production to that of high quality. Germany is now the world leader in technical textiles with 45% of the market.
Germany also plays an important role in international trade for textiles and clothing ranking fourth as a worldwide exporter. Exports represented 42% of the industry in 2013. At the same time, Germany is the second largest importer of textiles after the US thus becoming a very attractive market for textile exporters, especially since the 80s. The market is particularly attractive for overseas clothing manufacturers as the vast majority of the German wardrobe is imported.
The German Clothing Market in Figures
- Imports in 2013 were € 36,200 million and exports € 24,000 million.
- Total turnover in 2013 was 40% apparel and 60% technical textiles.
- The majority of imported textiles and clothing come from Asia (51%) followed by the EU with 31%. Germany’s main trading partners are: China, Turkey and Bangladesh.
In addition to being the second largest importer of textiles and clothing in the world, Germany has been a growing market in recent years. Germany’s 18% share of the total market in 2013 makes it the largest in Europe, though there was a small drop in demand of 1’1% that year.
These figures demonstrate the enormous potential of this market for those Spanish exporters and producers of textiles and apparel that wish to expand their presence in the German market. Armed with adequate, accurate information on the market and distribution channels and contacts with potential customers, Spanish textile manufacturers should have very little difficulty in increasing sales to Germany successfully.
The first step is to do your homework thoroughly. There are many facets and aspects that have to be taken into consideration: norms and standards, labelling, import regulations and industrial certification.
At Texprocess, international exhibitors will present the latest machines, plants, processes and services for the manufacture of garments and textile and flexible materials in Frankfurt am Main. Techtextil, the leading international trade fair for technical textiles and nonwovens, takes place at the same time as Texprocess.
With a total of 1,818 exhibitors from 59 countries and, in all, some 47,000 trade visitors from 116 countries , the two biggest editions of Techtextil and Texprocess ever to be held, ended today in Frankfurt. Accordingly, for four days, the Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre once again became the leading international platform for users of technical textiles from the widest variety of sectors, as well as for manufacturers of apparel, fashionwear, upholstered furniture and leather products.
“Over the last four days, Techtextil and Texprocess have brought together the entire world of textiles and their areas of application in Frankfurt. This double-barrelled trade fair had, in particular, three major things going for it: a larger number of top decision-makers, higher levels of international participation and a greater degree of satisfaction amongst exhibitors than ever before. Both exhibitors and visitors were extremely well prepared and actively took advantage of what was on offer at the two fairs, in order to drive their business forward in focussed ways,” says Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt.
“We were thoroughly inundated on the very first day, particularly with international visitors. On top of our already high proportion of existing customers, we got lots of new contacts during the course of the trade fair,” says Dr. Günther Gradnig, Managing Director at Sattler Pro-Tex GmbH. The response of exhibitors to the high levels of technical expertise amongst the visitors has been extremely positive. “The nice thing about Techtextil is that the visitors you meet are 100 percent specialists. The discussions we have had have been exclusively on a technical level – and a very high level at that. At the end of the day, this provides the foundation of good business,” confirms Jörg Perwitzschky, Director of Marketing at Bayern Innovativ, speaking of visitor quality.
There was, amongst other things, strong representation at Techtextil for suppliers of fabrics for functional apparel and of smart textiles with integral lighting, heating and sensory functionality, which are used in sportswear, fashionwear, outdoor clothes and workwear. With these products, companies like Schoeller, Freudenberg, RUDOLF and Lenzing attracted designers, product managers and buyers from a host of well-known clothing manufacturers. “We had loads of people at our stand, who were looking for specific things, including many well-known brands such as Alpha Tauri, Mammut, North Face and Tommy Hilfiger,” confirms Hendrikus van Es, Head of Protection Textiles and Member of the Senior Management Team of Schoeller Textil AG. There were, moreover, numerous exhibitors for accessories and components including, for instance, international market leaders for zip fasteners, YKK. “Visitors came from all over the world, from the USA, Pakistan, Asia, even Columbia. We are fantastically satisfied with the show,” says, for example, Jan Cees van Baaren, Sales Manager at YKK.
“Texprocess has inspired a very positive mood amongst suppliers. The manufacturers of sewing and apparel technology and of machinery for the processing of technical textiles and leather, have been reporting a certain reluctance to invest amongst their customers, caused by, among other things, current international trade barriers,” says Elgar Straub, General Manager of the Textile Care, Fabric and Leather Technologies (TFL) division of the VDMA (Association of German Machine and Plant Manufacturers). “We look towards the future with a great deal of positivity.”
Texprocess was also all about digital solutions for the sector – from fully networked production lines in the form of micro-factories and machines capable of autonomous learning to cloud-based collaboration between designers, product developers, manufactures and retailers across national boundaries. “Digitalisation and interlinked networks in the sector are gaining traction and have now reached as far as the retail shop,” says Straub. “An effect that we summarise as Impact 4.0, the direct effects of Industry 4.0.” It is something Alexander Behm, Product Manager Technical Textiles at H. Stoll AG & Co. KG also confirms: “I think that, in the not too distant future, things will go more and more in that direction and, in partnership with software suppliers and machinery manufacturers for other stages of the work, will eventually include the entire process chain.” These particular knitting machine manufacturers showcased the 3D knitting of shoe uppers in the Digital Textile Micro-Factory at Techtextil and Texprocess.
Gemini CAD Systems were manifestly delighted with their own micro-factory: „With our ‘Pixel to Product’ concept, we were able to clearly show our many visitors the benefits of made to measure garments and the end-to-end workflow to produce them. The connection to the clothing and fashion industry plays a very important role for us. That is why we will a show micro factory in July with several partners at the world‘s largest trade show for sustainable fashion, Neonyt, during Berlin Fashion Week“, says Luca Traian, CEO Gemini CAD Systems.
With ‘Sustainability at Techtextil and Texprocess’ both trade fairs concentrated the focus on the approaches that its exhibitors are adopting to sustainability issues. A dedicated exhibition guide took visitors straight to the relevant exhibitors. Marc W. Lorch, CEO of Zwissler Holding AG: “For us, the sustainability focus at this year’s Techtextil was extremely important. We have our own Sustainability Manager, who consistently takes care of this matter and its ramifications in all areas. We not only talk about sustainability – we live it. We have been preparing ourselves for this appearance for a long time in the run up to the show and have also involved our customers and suppliers.” And, for the first time, there were, in 2019, two winners of the Techtextil Innovation Award in the sustainability category.
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