BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and since 2010 South Africa) is the collective name coined for the five major emerging economies of the world. With impressive growth rates and a growing middle class, these economies have represented major opportunities for UK fashion and textiles firms and brands looking for new markets in recent years.
However with the exception of India, the past few years have seen the global economic outlook look more uncertain as a number of factors hinder economic performance in each country. Only this month, the Brazilian government report the economy had contracted by 3.8 per cent during 2015 which gave it a similar 2015 performance as Russia whilst South Africa grew marginally and China’s growth rate falling coupled with stock market turmoil for much of the end of 2015.
Coupled with this, the pound strengthening against each of these currencies with the exception of the Yuan over the duration of 2015 is also of considerable emphasis.
Whilst globally exports from the UK of fashion and textiles goods rose during 2015, it is interesting to look at how the BRICS have performed given the economic backdrop in each country and the impact of this on the demand for fashion and textiles from the UK.
Whilst Brazil and Latin America in general is a small market for UK fashion and textiles exporters, the once growing market has fallen my almost half in two years with £7.8m worth of fashion and textiles goods exported in 2015.
Most notably annual exports of apparel have seen considerable falls being 64 per cent down on 2014 whilst footwear exports also declined by 44 per cent during 2015. The one bright spot was exports of leather goods increased by 66 per cent in the year to over £212k.
Figure 1: Fashion and textile exports to Brazil
The Russian export market had grown considerable until 2013 where export values had reached £221m. However, as with Brazil, these values have halved over the last two years and are currently 34 per cent down on where they were in 2011. In the last year, textile exports have declined 53 per cent, the large apparel market 44 per cent, footwear 39 per cent and leather goods 46 per cent.
Figure 2: Fashion and textile exports to Russia
The Indian market grew steadily during 2015 and is now worth just under £37 million, seven per cent higher than in 2015. Textiles exports rebounded by 15 per cent in 2015 whilst apparel markets continued their growth to now be worth £12.6 million. This is 40 per cent higher than in 2011. However, footwear exports fell by 11 per cent and leather goods by 12 per cent during 2015.
Figure 3: Fashion and textile exports to India
China (excluding Hong Kong whose export data is reported separately) continued with its appetite for British fashion and textiles goods with £135 million imported from the UK in 2015. This is a growth of eight per cent for the year and represents a 73 per cent rise since 2011.
Textile goods remain the largest export value at £72 million, a third bigger than in 2011. However, it is apparel exports that are showing explosive growth growing by 331 per cent since 2011 to now stand at £44 million in 2015 reaching the Chinses market.
Figure 4: Fashion and textile exports to China
The South African market enjoyed modest growth of 2.6 per cent during 2015 with fashion and textiles exports to South Africa now worth £26.5 million annually. However, the market remains below the 2013 peak of £28 million.
However, taken over five year period, apparel export values are now work £10.8 million, an increase of £49 per cent since 2011 whilst footwear despite small a annual fall in 2015, is worth 63 per cent more in value than in 2011.
Figure 5: Fashion and textiles exports to South Africa
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