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Q1 Denim Import Data Confirms U.S. Industry Sourcing Shift

Denim brands and retailers implemented a big shift in sourcing strategy in the first quarter of 2016, according to data released last week by the International Trade Administration’s Office of Textiles and Apparel, or OTEXA.

In the first three months of 2016, denim imports from China represented 24.6 percent of the total, down from 24.9 percent a year ago.

Imports from Mexico suffered an even bigger fall, dropping from 30 percent of total U.S. denim imports in the first quarter of 2015 to 26.7 percent in 2016.

Bangladesh and Pakistan each gained 100 basis points of share, to become the number 3 and 4 suppliers of denim jeans to the U.S. market. This is consistent with industry trends showing a shift in denim market share toward the fast fashion retailers that are a favorite of younger consumers.

Total U.S. imports of denim jeans fell by 4.3 percent to $674.6 million in the first quarter. Units declined 3.5 percent to 85 million, resulting in a drop of 0.8 percent in the average cost of a pair of imported jeans.

Men’s and boy’s jeans suffered the biggest drop, with the dollar value of imports down 7.8 percent to $351.6 million.

Women’s and girls’ jeans imports were virtually flat at $323 million in the quarter.