An Overview of the Readymade Garment Industry in India

Last Updated on 10/01/2021

An Overview of the Readymade Garment Industry in India

R.S. Balakumar
Associate Professor,
Dept of Fashion Design & Arts,
Hindustan University, Chennai, India


Readymade Garment Industry in India is one of the largest contributors to India’s economy, providing millions with employment while making significant contributions to India’s annual GDP and export earnings. Today, India is the world’s 6th largest exporter of readymade garment products, registering over US$17 billion in readymade garment export value annually. India is known for its high quality garments for men and most of the garment manufacturers are in the Small and Medium-large scale industry. Indian sub-continent is the second largest manufacturer of garments after China being the global leader in garment production. In recent years, the readymade garment segment has seen vertical growth. Readymade garments (RMG) export from India stood at US$ 16.27 billion in 2018–19 and US$ 10.03 billion during April–November 2019.

Indian men’s clothing industry has been developing steadily and rapidly over the past few years, this has been possible owing to the Indian male becoming more fashion conscious, and hence there is more consumption which has increased the international demand of men’s garments by the rest of the world. Men’s shirt, trousers, blazer-suits, sherwanis, wedding-suit, business-suit, sports-suit, kurti-suits are made in different sizes to cater the need of the customers both in export and domestic market.

Readymade Garment Industry in India
Fig: Readymade Garment Industry in India

Indian women’s ready-made garment industry making fashionable garments to cater the need of their customers. salwar-kameez, churidar-kurtis, Patiala-salwar, pyjama-suit, midi-top, gowns, nighty, leggings, jeans trousers, casual-shirts, formal-pant and shirts, Indian saree blouse, designers wedding blouses are produced in ready-made garment industries in India.

Readymade garment industry in India has an advantage as it produces men, women. And children’s garments. both exports stylish and domestic garments for men at budget-oriented prices due to affordable labour rates with competitive perspectives. Today the by the way of Technological advancement and use of modern machinery it has enabled the manufacturers to achieve better quality and well-designed, fashionable garments.

Readymade garment (RMG) industry in India has been rapidly & steadily growing in last ten years. Exports have been rising as there is an increase in orders from international buyers accompanied by a rise of investments in the garment sector of the country. The Indian Garment Industry is of major importance to the Indian economy as it contributes substantially to India’s export earning, it is estimated and analyzed that one out of every six households in the country depends on this sector either indirectly or directly for its livelihood. From all over the world the Retailers also increasingly come to India attracted by low production costs. The large brands among them are Wal-Mart, Tesco, and M&S.

India’s Garment Industry was a un-organized sector a few decades ago, but now this is considered to be the well-organized sector and among the best in the world. It constitutes of skilled fashion designers, dedicated manufacturers, exporters, suppliers, stockist, retailers,and wholesalers. Indian Garment Industry has carved out a niche in the international markets and earned a reputation for its durability, quality and appearance. Today’s changing consumer preferences – buying branded apparel and fashion accessories, major boom in the garment retail industry, people shopping at department and discount stores, shopping malls, with rising disposable incomes, government policy focused on fast-track textile export growth, and ambitious goals have created several investment opportunities in India.

Government has even made effort to include benefits for Garment Industry. The annual plan for 2007-08 formulated by Indian government to promote the textile sector of India, includes schemes for attracting foreign direct investments, brand promotion through public-private partnership (PPP) for global acceptance of Indian brands, trade centers for facilitating business and image building, fashion hubs as a stable marketplace for Indian fashion, common compliance code for creating apparel standards for the benefit of buyers, and training centers for developing human resources. Indian garment industry`s has a decentralized production structure – subcontracting, which is low risk and low capital-has served the industry well but has excluded Indian products from the mass market for clothing, which demands consistent quality for large volumes of a single item.

Market Capitalization

India’s Garment/ Apparel Market Size

Value of the domestic apparel market in India from financial year 2010 to 2018
Value of the domestic apparel market in India from financial year 2010 to 2018 (Source: statista)
  1. Today India is booming with fashion and lifestyle, with the organized retail trade growing at a rate of 30% per annum.
  2. The Indian apparel or Indian garment industry is pegged at more than 90,000 crores with nearly 13% growth per annum.
  3. The men’s garment or clothing segment constitutes nearly 45% of the total apparel market and growing at a constant rate each year.
  4. The share of organized branded segment in men’s wear is fast increasing in the Indian apparel market.

Domestic and Export Share
Indian Garment Sector earns high export revenue, it has witnessed substantial profit accruing to retailers and Indian manufacturers are reflected in garment workers’ wages.

indian textile and apparel export

In 2004, Asian trade in the Garment Industry was to the tune of 138 billion US dollars.

In Bangalore itself there are large retail chains from the US and Europe – like GAP, Walmart, Tommy Hilfiger and JC Penny – have outsourced orders to large factories to the tune of 269.6 million US dollars in 2005.

Domestic and Export Share
In 2006, India’s textile industry (including garments) contributed 14% to industrial production, 4% to GDP, and 17% to export revenues which directly employed 35 million people including women and backward classes. Apparel exports totaled Rs 50,479 crore in 2009-10 compared to Rs 50,293 crore in 2008-09. But in dollar terms, all months of 2009-10 except July, August and November showed a painful downslide due to the exhausted quota system, and to face the tuff competition of china. .

Employment Opportunities
Indian Garment Industry is closely connected to the fashion industry and steadily grows hand in hand. With these even opportunities for the employment is also increasing to a larger level. These high levels of fashion consciousness has created the need for candidates who are highly productive, efficient and have a passion to create new designs and give way to creativity.

This Industry demands and requires both skill and diligence. India is an ultimate combination, like it has a matured garment industry for a long time along with a vast trained manpower. Some of the key areas to work are related to fashion and apparel design and manufacturing, merchandising, import export according to the government policies, freight and shipments etc. Work as a designer, or a start up a business in the local market and expand the business to the others areas of the national market.

List of Top Leading Companies Producing Ready-made Garments in India:

  1. Pantaloon Retail India Ltd
  2. Shopper’s Stop
  3. Tata – Trent
  4. Globus stores Pvt Ltd
  5. Pirmayd Retail Ltd
  6. Arvind Brands Ltd
  7. Pro vogue India Ltd
  8. The Raymond Group
  9. Madura Garment
  10. Reliance Retial Ltd
  11. Wills lifestyle
  12. Murjani Group
  13. Landmark Group
  14. Gokaldas Group
  15. Zodiac Clothing
  16. Peter England
  17. Van Hausen

Recent Developments of Garments Industry in India

  1. In southern India’s Tirupur town, young girls are engaged to work in the knitted garment industry with a promise of ‘golden opportunity’ to earn their own dowry at the end of a three-year apprentice period.
  2. Knitted Garment industry of Tirupur projects a turnover of Rs 10,000 crore this year, down from Rs 11,000 crore in 2006-07, thanks to the falling dollar.
  3. The industry employs 400,000 workers regularly and an additional 500,000 seasonally where most of them women and teenaged girls.
  4. The Indian Garment industry is today modernized via an exclusive scheme, which has set aside $5bn for investment in improvisation of machinery.
  5. International brands like the Levis, JC Penny, Wal-Mart, Gap, Marks & Spencer and other industry giants are sourcing more and more fabrics and garments from India.
  6. According to a study China and India will be major gainers. Where India could increase their share from present 8 % in US textile market to 13.5% and from 3% to 8% in US Garment market.
  7. Morgan Stanley has projected India to be one of top three exporters of textile and garments.
  8. Indian Cotton Mills Federation study has estimated Indian textile exports to reach US$40 Billion by 2010 and 12.5% share in the Indian Commodity export basket.
  9. However, the garment industry in India faces stiff competition from countries such as Bangladesh, China and Vietnam. There is a pressure on the Indian garment industries to produce finished garments at lower costs to survive the cut-throat competition.
  10. Today, around 45% of the total textile exports in India account for ready-made garments.
  11. Garment Industry in India is looking at achieving an export target of $25 billion- an Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) official said.
  12. The garment industry today would need an additional 1.5 million people .
  13. An investment of Rs. 35000 crore in terms of related infrastructure is required .
  14. AEPC plans to set up 50 training centers besides the 22 centers it has at present across the country.

To give quality education in garment making, many technical educational institutes, colleges, are available in India, after completing their relevant course, they can be recruited in ready -made garment industries & export garment manufacturing industries. More number of small industrial entrepreneurs is growing with prosperity. Government loan facilities are available to establish the readymade garment industry.


  1. Articles on Garment industry published in THE HINDU-Leading English news -paper.
  2. Articles on Garment &fashion industry published in monthly magazine -VALAR THOZHIL.-Tamil leading monthly magazine. many articles are contributed by me since the year 2000.

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