Channelling the lawn business

Since lawn is such a popular fabric, why not market it abroad?.

Humayon Dar March 25, 2012
Channelling the lawn business


As summer draws near in Pakistan, a fierce war over domestic markets is being waged all over the country. In mega metropolises like Karachi and Lahore, huge roadside billboards of lawn brands dominate city skylines; evidence of the aggressive advertisement campaigns employed by major players to capture domestic markets. The textile, popular among women in the summer season, has suddenly become a ‘hot’ commodity.

There are an estimated 60 premium lawn brands in Pakistan, led by the likes of Bareezé, Kayseria, Gul Ahmed, Ittehad, Five Stars, Al Karam, Firdaus and Lakhani. Designer lawns produced by the likes of Deepak Parwani, HSY, Kayseria, etc are in huge demand in domestic markets, as well as affluent segments of overseas Pakistani communities in the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. According to London-based Edbiz Consulting – who have an office in Islamabad – the estimated annual size of the lawn market in Pakistan is no less than Rs50 billion. This makes it one of the most demanded seasonal consumer items every year.

Given its immense popularity, the Pakistani lawn fabric can be developed as a major export item on the back of strong domestic consumption. In fact, given the disposable nature of most summer lawns (urban women – especially the fashion conscious ones from higher income brackets – purchase lawns for only one season), the production of lawn can be used as an engine of growth for Pakistani textiles, similar to what Japan did with electronics to spur its economic juggernaut.

It would be a great help to the industry if the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) commissions a global campaign to identify summer fabrics in other parts of the world, for which the lawn can be substituted. In tropical countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, baju kurung for women is very similar to the Pakistani shalwar kameez. Exploring these markets for exports will ensure continuous economic activity for lawn manufacturers in Pakistan whose products are, at present, merely a summer attraction. Edbiz Consulting projects that targeting three additional markets –Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam – can easily double the size of the market for Pakistani summer lawns.

Specific steps that must be undertaken by Aptma should include protecting the “lawn” as an exclusively Pakistani brand through relevant international trademarks. Research should be sponsored and Pakistani lawns promoted in international trade. It is recommended that a credible consulting firm is hired to develop a global sales and distribution plan for lawn. Major players in the market must contribute to a research and development fund set up under Aptma. Also, trade fairs and exhibitions showcasing the fabric must be organised in targeted countries, especially Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam, which have potential in terms of sales of stitched and unstitched lawn cloth.

These measures will augment the government’s ability in narrowing down its trade deficit. If Far Eastern markets are fully explored, the trade deficit may be reduced by approximately $540 million. The so-called lawn wars for capturing domestic markets can hence be channelled as an effective means of earning foreign exchange; which Pakistan desperately needs to balance its import bill, especially with regards to oil and other energy related products.

The writer is an economist and PhD from Cambridge University.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 26th, 2012.


M. Ahmed | 12 years ago | Reply


Pakistani designer lawns are world class and second to none. With Chenab Textile getting into the lawn business, it has the muscle to take ChenOne lawn to overseas markets. Excellent proposal.

Fareeha Khan | 12 years ago | Reply

a very good article, focusing on strength of Pakistn's fabric. i agreed with registeration of 'Lawn" as pakistani Fabric as our competitors like India and Bangladesh still not able to produce such a nice fabric with different fabric contents...with this an exhibition will be held in India (New Delhi) ...all leading brand of Pakistan is participating in it....we should explore indian market too full extent as it has same season , taste and demand....domestic demand , marketing , branding and distribution in last few years made our companies competitive and experienced for international markets....lets start competing and capturing the other markets as this is the right time to enter..

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