The Textile Industry
Retail trade sales of textiles have continued to expand although the country’s protracted struggle with low economic growth and falling incomes, recently exacerbated by the coronavirus outbreak and national lockdown, have restrained consumer spending. In the manufacturing sector, production and employment have stagnated and many producers are uncompetitive relative to the cheap Asian imports. The sector remains largely unable to compete with imports or to generate sustainable growth. Nevertheless, there have been some important recent successes, such as the revitalisation of the cotton sub-sector.
Due to their labour-intensive nature, textiles and apparel have long been identified as a strategic priority for South Africa’s industrial policy and support programmes. The industry master plan, released at the end of 2019, aims to buoy local textile procurement by working closely with retailers to combat the high levels of illegal imports, and incentivise new investment into domestic manufacturing capacity. The performance of the textile industry has been mixed for a number of years, despite government support programmes and support including import duties, local procurement thresholds, subsidies, grants, and direct funding of manufacturers through the clothing and textiles competitiveness programme.
The pandemic and global economic lockdowns have had an immediate effect on textile production, sales, and trade. There has been a significant expansion in ecommerce and online shopping as a result of the lockdown. Clothing is a major and rapidly-growing product category for ecommerce, but textiles are a rather niche online segment.
This report examines the South African textile industry, from the manufacture and distribution of basic textiles, yarns, and fabrics, to the large retail market for finished textile products like towels and linen. It includes comprehensive information on the state and size of the sector, demand, sales trade and employment statistics, sector trends, corporate actions and major developments. There are profiles of 23 companies including manufacturers such as Standerton Mills and Aranda Textile Mills, Associate Spinners and The Good Hope Textile Corporation (Da Gama).