Textile industry in Europe | Scale and growth 2023

In ancient times, the dressing was a characteristic of each person and of human society. Dress helps distinguish people in each region as well as at each level of society. How has the textile industry in Europe changed and changed? How is the development of the manufacturing market going? Let’s go to the following content with Dugarco.

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1. Overview of the textile industry in Europe

Textile and garment is an important sector in the European manufacturing industry, currently employing more than 1.7 million people and having a turnover of EUR 166 billion. Changes in style and fashion help the textile industry stay competitive with a move towards a more modern, youthful and eco-friendly style.

The textile industry in Europe went through many different periods and evolved to the present day. So how many stages have the textile industry in Europe gone through? Find out below.

1.1 History of textile industry in Europe

In ancient times, the textile industry played a very important role in the production and consumption of textiles in Europe. The history of the textile industry is almost as long as human civilization and there are changes and development in the textile industry in Europe through different periods.

textile industry in europe
History textile industry

1.1.1 Growth of textile industry in medieval Europe

In the Middle Ages, the Byzantines produced and exported beautifully patterned fabrics. Weaving and embroidery were for the upper classes, while the lower classes used dye-resistant fabrics.

cotton textile industry in europe
The textile industry in the Middle Ages

From 400 to 1100, the way Europeans dressed gradually changed. The way people dress differently will depend on different population groups. They usually use some imported Byzantine options. In addition, they also use cotton, linen, and wool fabrics.

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1.1.2 Textile industry in europe during the industrial revolution

During the agricultural revolution, cloth production was replaced by machines powered by water wheels and steam engines. Moving from cottage industry production to mass production. In the 19th century, the appearance of sewing machines streamlined the production of clothing.

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In the industrial revolution

From 1810 to 1840, the development of the market tripled production. This has created a change in the industry. Factory workers are mainly women, they earn money for their families and prepare for future marriage. This helps them become more independent and in control of themselves.

1.1.3 Textile industry in Europe during world war II

During World War II, the textile industry in Europe underwent a major change. This change has had a great impact on Europeans as well as people around the world. Some universities have established textile departments such as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with collections on the history of clothing and textiles.

Changes in lifestyle have caused manufacturers to change to meet people’s needs. new product better and more effective with strength, elasticity, and toughness. The clothes with different materials and accessories reflected a part of the people’s life at that time.

1.1.4 Textile industry in Europe during winter

During the ancient Near East, the Sumerians of Mesopotamia used to wear wool coats in winter. In later times, the development of woolen weaving in Mesopotamia made clothing more diverse. Men wear tunics with sleeves that are short or knee-length, while women wear clothes with or without sleeves, narrow or wide, and rather long.

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In winter

In Mughal India, women often wear long loose jamas with full sleeves with a Qaba or a Kashmir shawl used as a coat. They also wear jewelry to signify their religion.

1.2 Textile industry market in Europe

With the influence of the international exhibition, also known as the crystal exhibition in London in 1851. The purpose of this exhibition was to provide a display venue for manufacturers. Taking advantage of that opportunity, the textile industries showcased their new designs and techniques. This has created many means to produce goods for consumers.

textile industry in europe
Textile industry market in Europe

Continuing new developments and innovations, the textile industry in Europe produces not only a wide range of textile fabrics for apparel but also for interiors. Competition among manufacturers has spurred international exhibitions. In 1855, France organized its own exhibition on the textile industry. This is also a leading country in the fashion and furniture market.

2. Characteristics of the industry in Europe

The textile industry in Europe is an important sector with a strong growth rate. Some of the world’s largest and most famous apparel company headquarters are located here. Textile products are mainly natural fibers such as cotton, linen, wool, and synthetic fibers such as polyester, Synthetic. Manufacturers invest and innovate over time. In recent years, Covid-19 has caused a great impact on the European market in particular and the world in general.

2.1 Competitiveness strengths

Textile brands in Europe have competitive strengths:

  • High production quality
  • Innovative design and famous brand in the world market
  • Strong leadership in high-value-added segments
  • Companies are all trying to develop and create many new products
textile and clothing industry in europe
Strengths and weaknesses

2.2 Competitiveness challenges

Besides those strengths, the European Market also faces important challenges in innovation and development. This will greatly affect the overall market. Some of the challenges to consider:

  • Many emerging companies have sprung up, increasing competition in the field
  • Competition with international markets is quite fierce
  • Impact on the environment (chemicals, deforestation, …)
  • Small businesses benefit from each other quite low
  • Rising labor costs along with labor shortages

3. Economic importance of the textile industry

The textile industry in the European economy has an important influence. The demand is increasing, consumers are always interested in the right clothes according to their needs and fashion. The fashion industry is taking steps towards more sustainability, such as the use of organic materials to protect the environment.

textile industry in europe
Textile production in Asia and Europe

Increased procurement will drive growth in the European market. An increase in consumer shopping needs will increase disposable income. Personal consumption spending slowed slightly in 2019 and 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic, but after that, spending levels stabilized and increased again.

4. Competitiveness of the European textile industry in the international market

Europe is a rapidly developing garment market in the world. Due to the covid-19 pandemic, in 2020 it reached a value of 124.7 billion euros, lower than 146.9 billion in 2019, but after that, the value has steadily increased again and reached the same value as 2019.
Regarding the import market, Europe accounted for 21.3% of the world’s total import value of textiles and garments in 2019. A rather large number in the world market and currently continues to increase strongly each year. In 2020, the EU is the world’s second-largest textile exporter after China, accounting for 13% of the world’s export value.

textile industry in medieval europe
Growth market

Thereby shows that Europe is a sustainable and fair market in terms of trade, and clothes are produced with high technology. Consumer goods are diversified and leading in fashion trends. The market fell during the covid-19 years but rallied and stabilized its support peak by the end of 2020.

5. Which country is best for the textile industry

Currently, the market for the textile industry in Western Europe is larger than in Central and Eastern Europe. Although some countries grow faster than those in Western Europe, the size of the market is much smaller. In total, the top 6 import markets for apparel are Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland.

  • Germany is Europe’s largest apparel importer with a total import value of €30.2 billion with a 5-year average growth rate of 0.9%.
  • France is Europe’s second-largest apparel importer with a total import value of 17.1 billion euros. Due to the impact of Covid-19, the average growth rate in 5 years decreased by 1.7%.
textile industry in europe
Germany is best for the textile industry
  • Spain is Europe’s third-largest apparel importer with a total import value of €14 billion. Also due to the impact of Covid-19, the average growth rate in 5 years decreased by 0.3%.
  • Italy is Europe’s fourth-largest apparel importer with a total import value of 11.5 billion euros. Similarly, due to the impact of Covid-19, the average growth rate in 5 years decreased by 1.7%.
  • The Netherlands is Europe’s fifth-largest apparel importer with a total import value of 11.4 billion Euros with a 5-year average growth rate of 0.05%.
  • Poland is Europe’s sixth-largest apparel importer with a total import value of €8.7 billion with a 5-year average growth rate of 13.3%.

6. Which products from developing countries have the most potential in the European apparel market?

Currently, pants are the largest garment products imported into the EU and account for 22.5% of total garment imports. Besides that, there are also shirts, jackets, skirts, and knitwear. All five types account for 73.8% of total imports into the EU.

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Products from the developing countries

Pants; Coats, Jackets, Blazers; Knitwear; Dresses, and Skirts are worth 28.6 billion euros, respectively; 18.7 billion euros; 17.1 billion euros; 10.7 billion euros with the 5-year average growth rate of 1.6% respectively; 1.7%; 1.7%; 5.2%. For Shirts and Blouses, the category is worth €24.6 billion with a 5-year average growth rate down 2%.

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7. Textile brands in Europe

Some famous brands in Europe:

  • Arville Textiles – Specializes in manufacturing industrial textiles
  • Dormeuil – Specialist in producing a variety of luxurious textiles such as silk, yarn,…
  • FOV – Specializes in sportswear, entertainment, and fashion.
  • Lameirinho S.A – Manufacture of home textiles.
  • Manifattura Tessile Friulana – Producing a wide range of innovative knitted fabrics for various fields of application.

8. Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions and concerns from some of you. You can refer to the answer below if you still don’t understand some things. Hope it will help you.

8.1 What is the growth rate of the Europe Textile Market?

The growth rate of the European Textile and Garment Market is expected to be around 5% in 2021.

8.2 Who are the key players in Europe Textile Market?

The companies that have influence on the European textile market are: Salvatore Ferragamo SpA, Koninklijke Ten Cate NV, Inditex, Tirotex Chargeurs SA.

textile industry in europe
Textile materials

8.3 How big is the fashion industry in Europe?

Based on Eurostat statistics, in 2020, the overall European apparel import market is worth 127.4 billion euros, equivalent to about 23.7 billion units of clothing. Meanwhile, in 2016, the Market was worth 256.7 billion euros, equivalent to 42.9 billion units of clothing.

8.4 Future of European textiles and apparel?

In the future, the European textile industry may face some great challenges, but at the same time, thanks to that, the textile machinery industry will have great development and change. According to the report, EURATEX has confirmed that the future of the European textile industry will open up relations with neighboring countries and create new learning opportunities.

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Textile industry in Europe

The above article has helped us to know about the history of the textile industry in Europe. In addition, we also know more information about textile brands and textile companies in Europe. A long history and amazing development. I hope Dugarco has brought you useful information.


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