A long history of manufacturing, innovation and flexibility has made the textile and clothing industry in Germany one of the most important sectors in the country. Today, textiles and clothing are the second largest consumer goods market after the food and beverage industry.
The domestic industry is made up of almost 1200 mostly small and medium sized enterprises with a workforce of 120000 in the different industry segments. The structural change during the past decades has transformed the national textile industry from low-tech manufacturing into an innovative high-tech sector. Today the German textile industry is the global market leader for technical textiles with a market share of 45 percent.
Germany is a major player in foreign trade with textiles and clothing. The country is the third largest exporter of textiles and clothing worldwide, registering an export quota of 43 percent in 2011. At the same time, the country is also the second largest textile importer after the United States and has become an attractive market for many textile exporting countries since the 1980s. Especially in the clothing segment, Germany imports a vast majority of apparel products, thus offering an appealing opportunity for foreign companies.