The 2015 orders and turnover data produced by the ONS show how the various components of the manufacturing sector performed during 2015 but also give clues on strategies adopted by manufacturers.
As the data shows, turnover levels across the industry were slightly down due to the continuing retreat of textile manufacturing turnover to stand at £8.9bn in 2015, down from £9.1bn in 2014. However, both apparel and leather manufacturers saw significant increases in turnover.
Table 1: Fashion and textiles manufacturing turnover and export proportions.
Source: Office for National Statistics (current prices not seasonally adjusted)
What the data additionally shows is how industry futures are being shaped by demand. For instance, textiles firms with their fall in turnover have also seen slightly less reliance on the export market which corresponds to the falling demand for products. Both 2011 and 2012 when the higher turnover rates for the textiles manufacture were significantly higher, exports as a proportion of turnover was higher.
Within apparel, the rise in turnover in the past three years has culminated in the recovery of exports as a proportion of sales. Representing a fifth of turnover, it does show overseas sales strategies are increasingly of importance.
Most striking though has been the patterns recorded within leather manufacture. Overall turnover is slightly above 2011 levels yet exports are a substantial less part of the sales make-up within the sector. This illustrates how leather manufacturers have had success in cultivating a domestic demand for their products.