December 4, 2023
Special Report

India Emerges As World’s Leading Importer Of Knitting Machinery In 2022

In 2022, the global knitting machinery import market saw significant growth, with imports rising by 7.43% to reach US$ 2716.36 million. Among the various knitting machinery categories, tulle, lace, embroidery, trimmings and related machines dominated the scene, accounting for a substantial US$ 1051.81 million of imports, signifying a remarkable 18.82% growth in 2022. This category alone represented 39% of the total knitting machinery imports worldwide.

India’s Spectacular Surge
India emerged as the leading global importer of tulle, lace, embroidery, trimmings and related machines, experiencing a staggering 93% increase in imports, reaching US$ 246.21 million in 2022. This remarkable growth allowed India to overtake the USA, which now ranks second with imports valued at US$ 211.59 million, marking a substantial 35.2% increase in 2022. Meanwhile, Vietnam, despite being the third-largest importer, witnessed a decline of 16.5% in its knitting machinery imports.

Flat Knitting Machines Face Decline
Flat knitting machine imports faced a notable decline of 2.50% in 2022, reaching US$ 753.23 million. Last year, flat knitting machines held a 27% share of the global knitting imports. Over the last five years, these imports have consistently dropped, experiencing a 35% decline since 2018.

Türkiye, as the largest importer of flat knitting machines, imported goods valued at US$ 105.67 million, experiencing a growth of 19.6% in 2022. Türkiye’s share in this commodity accounts for 14% of the global imports, while Bangladesh followed closely as the second-largest importer, with imports totalling US$ 93.71 million and a remarkable growth of 51.8% in 2022.

Circular Knitting Machines Rebound
In contrast to flat knitting machines, circular knitting machine imports displayed a positive trend, surpassing pre-pandemic import levels in 2022. Total imports for circular knitting machines reached US$ 903.2 million, marking a 3.7% growth compared to the previous year. These machines come in two cylinder types: those with a diameter less than 165 mm and those with a diameter greater than 165 mm.

Imports of circular knitting machines with a cylinder diameter less than 165 mm reached US$ 644.71 million, witnessing a 3.61% growth in 2022. This category comprised 24% of the total knitting machinery imports worldwide. Türkiye remained the leading importer in this category, despite a 10.5% decline in 2022. Bangladesh surged ahead, surpassing India to become the second-largest importer with a 58.3% growth, reaching US$ 9.16 million. India retained its position as the third-largest importer, experiencing a 19.6% growth to reach US$ 7.25 million in 2022.

Imports of circular knitting machines with a cylinder diameter greater than 165 mm reached US$ 258.51 million, recording a 3.9% growth in 2022, and representing 10% of the total knitting machinery imports. Türkiye also dominated this category, with imports valued at US$ 83.87 million and growth of 22.60%. India ranked second with imports of US$ 27.47 million, showing a 10% growth, while China, the third-largest importer, recorded US$ 17.75 million, reflecting a decline of 7.57% in 2022.

India Leads the Way
On the global stage, India has firmly established itself as the world’s largest importer of knitting machines in 2022, with total imports amounting to US$ 426.75 million and a remarkable growth rate of 29%. India now accounts for 16% share of the total knitting machine imports worldwide.

China continues to dominate India’s knitting machine market, accounting for 69% of India’s imports, with exports totaling US$ 295.57 million in 2022, reflecting a 28.33% growth. Germany also plays a significant role, with exports reaching US$ 33.51 million and a strong growth rate of 27.5%. Italy has also made substantial gains in 2022, with knitting machine exports to India growing by a remarkable 263.60% to reach US$ 16.29 million.

Türkiye’s Changing Status
While Türkiye has witnessed an overall rise in its knitting machinery imports, India’s insatiable demand for these machines has allowed it to surpass Türkiye as the world’s largest importer. Türkiye is now the second-largest importer, experiencing a 5.3% growth to reach US$ 373.06 million in 2022. Although China remains the primary supplier to Türkiye, demand for Chinese machines saw a notable decline of 12.7% in 2022.

Global Players in the USA
The USA, as the third-largest importer of knitting machines, saw imports totaling US$ 244.49 million in 2022, marking a robust growth rate of 25.44%. Tulle, lace, embroidery, trimmings and related machinery constituted the majority of imports, accounting for US$ 211.59 million and growing at an impressive rate of 35.2%. However, flat knitting machine imports saw a decline of 19.8% to US$ 15.73 million in 2022, while circular knitting machines with a diameter less than 165 mm witnessed a 33.4% growth to reach US$ 11.21 million. In contrast, machines with a diameter greater than 165 mm faced a 42.4% decline, reaching US$ 5.95 million in 2022.
Notably, about 38% of the USA’s knitting machine imports originate from Japan. The US manufacturers have demonstrated a preference for Japanese machines over those from China and Germany. Imports from Japan surged by 54.3% in 2022, reaching US$ 93.21 million.

In 2022, India’s meteoric rise as the world’s largest importer of knitting machinery marked a significant shift in the global market. As India continues to drive demand for these machines, it is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the textile industry. Meanwhile, Türkiye, despite its continued imports, has relinquished its top position to India due to India’s insatiable demand for knitting machinery. The dynamics of the knitting machinery market are evolving, with India at the forefront of these transformative changes.

Source: ITC calculations based on UN COMTRADE and ITC statistics.

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