The accelerated digital revamp that companies underwent during the pandemic was a major turning point in their success.

According to reports, the Indian textile and clothing industry contributes roughly two to three percent of the country’s GDP. A decent chunk of which comes from industrial production and export earnings. In fact, it is often seen as the second-biggest Indian industry after agriculture. And much like agriculture and many other industries, it took a massive hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To be fair, these businesses signed up for the risks—the ups and downs of the markets. But, no one could have possibly prepared for a global economic fallout of that scale. It was just one of those freak accidents of nature. With that said, it should be known that most businesses that have survived the pandemic, have pivoted and changed their approach in order to keep their heads above water.

In this blog, we will look at some of the ways that textile businesses in India had to adapt in order to thrive in some of the most difficult market conditions in recent history.

How did the Indian Textile Industry Survive the Pandemic?

They say that necessity is the mother of all invention, and the pandemic definitely necessitated change. Businesses had to understand that customers were facing these issues just as much as the businesses themselves. To meet these emotions and needs, textile businesses had to provide a product mix that was in line with what customers wanted and deliver it through more convenient means. This brings us to the next point: digital innovation.

With everyone stuck at home, businesses had to rethink how they reached consumers. Brands that previously had little to no online presence had to push to establish a digital presence on social media, websites, Google Ads, and so on. Businesses that sensed this need for change invested time, energy, and money into digital platforms to gain consumer confidence and build trust with their target audience.

Another major issue brands faced was managing their inventory stocks, which were just sitting there. They had to find a way to move products in a way that was cost-effective and environmentally conscious. This meant adopting more mindful production and sourcing strategies to lessen their carbon footprint and move ‘deadstock’.

Lastly, there was also the issue of keeping employees safe and satisfied. Given that the majority of the manufacturing process, as well as the day-to-day operations are in-person jobs, the pandemic made it all but impossible. Businesses had to stay in touch with their employees and ensure that they were taken care of both financially and physically. Because once people are asked to come back to work, it will only motivate them more to work for a company that puts their needs first and makes their health a priority. This ensures a smooth transition for everyone involved.

A Few Facts of the Pandemic-Hit Indian Textile Industry

During the pandemic, our textile industry hit a low of $75 billion, down from its peak of $106 billion in FY2020, as reported by Infomerics Valuation and Rating Pvt. Ltd., a SEBI-registered and RBI-accredited financial services credit rating company. The report also states that since then, there has been a significant turnaround in the technical textiles industry. In terms of value, this sector’s imports exceeded exports by Rs 1,058 crore in FY20, while in FY21 exports exceeded imports by Rs 2,998 crore.

This tells us that as an industry, we are on the road to recovery, and while it may never be possible to be 100% ready for the next big economic blow, this whole experience shows us that businesses in the textile industry in India are ready to make changes when push comes to shove.s