If you order custom garments regularly, you may have noticed some changes in the last several months. Prices have gone up, shipping is taking longer, and many products have reduced stock.
But what exactly is causing these issues? Well, like it is for many other problems the world is facing today, the COVID-19 pandemic is to blame for a lot of these too. Here are some of the greatest challenges the custom garment industry has faced over the past couple of years:
COVID infection rates continue to fluctuate around the world, impacting production in different regions. Some factories in Asia may shut down in response to local outbreaks, and the U.S. continues to struggle with labor shortages following the reopening of the economy.
While many suppliers including ours are managing to maintain their inventory levels, they are struggling to increase them. While the pandemic continues to evolve, inventory levels will likely continue to be affected for the foreseeable future.
Shipping costs have been increasing significantly over the past few years, but the increased demand for shipping capacity during the pandemic has led to companies paying whatever it takes to move their products. Not long ago, one of our suppliers had to pay more than 10 times the usual fee to ship a container to the U.S. from Asia.
Recently, the U.S. dollar has weakened against the currencies of two key nations in the custom garment industry: China and Honduras. The dollar’s decreased value means vendors in China and Honduras need to increase their prices in order to continue earning the same amount in their local currencies.
Cost of Raw Materials
This one isn’t related to the pandemic, but many Western nations, including the U.S., are rejecting products containing Xinjiang cotton. Xinjiang is the province responsible for the vast majority of China’s cotton output, accounting for over 80% in 2020. This reduction of the supply, coupled with a mostly recovered demand, has increased the price of cotton worldwide.