That dollar amount reflects a -4.2% decline for all T-shirt exporters over the five-year period starting in 2016 when exported T-shirts were worth $41.6 billion.
From 2019 to 2020, revenues from globally exported T-shirts dropped by -12.7%.
The 5 biggest exporters of knitted or crocheted t-shirts are mainland China, Bangladesh, Germany, Vietnam and Turkey. Collectively, they generated 48% of total international sales for knitted or crocheted t-shirts.
Among continents, suppliers in Asia sold the highest dollar worth of exports for knitted or crocheted T-shirts (inclusive of all types of materials) during 2020 with shipments valued at $22.6 billion or 56.7% of overall T-shirt exports. In second place were European shippers at 30.2%.
Smaller percentages of total t-shirt exports were sourced from Latin America (6.8%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, North America (3.6%), Africa (2.6%) and Oceania (0.1%) led by Australia and Fiji.
Cotton is the dominant material used in t-shirt manufacturing. Cotton t-shirts accounted for $27.4 billion in international sales or over two-thirds (68.9%) of total exported t-shirts. Similar apparel made from textiles other than cotton equaled $12.4 billion for the remaining 31.1%.
For research purposes, the 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix for knitted or crocheted t-shirts is 6109. Drilling down, cotton T-shirts fall under 610910 while t-shirts made from other materials are categorized as 610990.
T-shirt Exports by Country
Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of ts-shirts (regardless of source materials) during 2020.
- China: US$6.3 billion (15.8% of total t-shirt exports)
- Bangladesh: $5.9 billion (14.7%)
- Germany: $2.35 billion (5.9%)
- Vietnam: $2.34 billion (5.9%)
- Turkey: $2.3 billion (5.8%)
- India: $1.9 billion (4.8%)
- Italy: $1.7 billion (4.3%)
- Netherlands: $1.3 billion (3.2%)
- Spain: $1.04 billion (2.6%)
- France: $974.9 million (2.4%)
- Honduras: $883.3 million (2.2%)
- United Kingdom: $802.4 million (2%)
- Portugal: $793.2 million (2%)
- Cambodia: $785.1 million (2%)
- Mexico: $771.0 million (1.9%)
The listed 15 countries shipped 75.5% of global t-shirt exports in 2020 by value.
Among the above countries, there were 2 growth exporters since 2019 namely Honduras (up 74,125%) and the Netherlands (up 2.9%).
Leading declines in exported t-shirt sales belong to: India (down -26.8%), Spain (down -24.2%), Mexico (down -20.6%), Cambodia (down -20.2%) and Portugal (down -17.9%).
T-shirt Exports by Country: Cotton
Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of cotton T-shirts during 2020.
- Bangladesh: US$5.2 billion (19% of exported cotton T-shirts)
- China: $3.2 billion (11.6%)
- Germany: $1.6 billion (6%)
- Turkey: $1.5 billion (5.5%)
- India: $1.4 billion (5.2%)
- Italy: $1.4 billion (5%)
- Vietnam: $1.3 billion (4.7%)
- Netherlands: $1 billion (3.7%)
- Spain: $766.9 million (2.8%)
- France: $740.5 million (2.7%)
- Honduras: $685.2 million (2.5%)
- Portugal: $631 million (2.3%)
- United Kingdom: $629.4 million (2.3%)
- Poland: $584.2 million (2.1%)
- United States: $509.8 million (1.9%)
By value, the listed 15 countries shipped 77.3% of globally exported cotton t-shirts in 2020.
Among the above countries, there were 4 growth exporters of cotton t-shirts since 2019: Honduras (up 372,317%), Poland (up 40.9%), Netherlands (up 7%) and the United Kingdom (up 2.3%).
Those countries that posted declines in their exported cotton t-shirts sales were led by: India (down -26.4%), Spain (down -20.8%), United States (down -19.7%), Turkey (down -14.6%) and China (down -14.5%).
T-shirt Exports by Country: Non-Cotton Textiles
Below are the 15 countries that, during 2020, exported the highest dollar value worth of T-shirts made from textile materials other than cotton.
- China: US$3.1 billion (25% of exported non-cotton t-shirts)
- Vietnam: $1 billion (8.4%)
- Turkey: $789.4 million (6.4%)
- Germany: $716.1 million (5.8%)
- Bangladesh: $657.8 million (5.3%)
- India: $474 million (3.8%)
- Cambodia: $389.8 million (3.1%)
- Italy: $345.9 million (2.8%)
- Spain: $272.9 million (2.2%)
- Netherlands: $259.9 million (2.1%)
- Sri Lanka: $257.2 million (2.1%)
- Mexico: $251 million (2%)
- Egypt: $240.9 million (1.9%)
- France: $234.4 million (1.9%)
- Indonesia: $231.5 million (1.9%)
By value, the listed 15 countries shipped 74.7% of globally exported non-cotton t-shirts in 2020.
Among the above countries, there were a pair of growth exporters since 2019, namely Indonesia (up 12.3%) and Cambodia (up 11.4%).
Those countries that posted declines in their exports of non-cotton t-shirts were led by: Spain (down -32.3%), India (down -28.0%), Sri Lanka (down -23.3%), Bangladesh (down -22.6%) and Turkey (down -21.2%).
T-shirt Exporting Companies
According to global trading platform Alibaba, the following suppliers are examples of established T-shirt companies.
- Fab Collections Limited (Bangladesh)
- Herbert Georg Santura (Portugal)
- Idea Group IGM SRL (Italy)
- Luxiberg (France)
- Nanchang Dongshen Knitted Garment Co, Ltd (China)
- NFS Trade International (Germany)
- PBM Polytex Limited (India)
- Ruma North America Group S de RL de CV (Mexico)
- Sky Apparel Limited (Turkey)
- Vietgo Company Limited (Vietnam)
The home-country location for each business is shown within parentheses.
See also T-shirt Imports by Country, Top Fur Clothing Exporters Plus Average Prices for Furskin Clothes, Cotton Imports by Country and Top Exported Baby Clothing Sales
Alibaba, Supplier showroom for T-shirts. Accessed on July 21, 2021
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Field Listing: Exports – Commodities. Accessed on July 21, 2021
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on July 21, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on July 21, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on July 21, 2021
Wikipedia, T-shirt. Accessed on July 21, 2021