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US Jeans Imports Sailed to 22.5% Hike in January

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Brands and retailers made a strong push to stay on top of denim’s strong run at retail in January, importing $308.19 million worth of jeans, a 22.5 percent increase from a year earlier, new data from the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles & Apparel (OTEXA) revealed.

A new report from Research and Markets forecast the global denim jeans market to grow $76.1 billion by 2026, up from $57.3 billion in 2020. The market research firm attributed the anticipated success to factors including casualization in the workplace.

“What a difference a year makes,” Jennifer Foyle, president and executive creative director for American Eagle and Aerie & Aerie, said about the company’s 30-plus percent revenue increase in 2021 compared to 2020.

“Our men’s business has seen tremendous growth as we’ve refocused the assortment in our core best-selling items,” Foyle said. “The women’s business also had a great quarter, supported by our signature denim category and focused on outfitting.”

All this clearly contributed to January’s jump in jeans imports. All five of the top supplier countries with more than 10 percent of import market share posted increases, as did many second-tier production hubs.

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Blue denim apparel imports from top supplier Bangladesh rose 9.99 percent year over year to $62.03 million in January, while No. 2 provider Mexico saw its shipments increase 28.68 percent to $53.89 million, according to OTEXA.

Jeans imports from Vietnam surged 49.19 percent to $37.25 million in the month, while shipments reaching U.S. ports of entry from Pakistan rose 32.76 percent to $34.52 million and imports from China increased 17.13 percent to $33.31 million.

Leading the charge for the second-tier manufacturers was Egypt, with its imports into the U.S. jumping 78.17 percent year over year in January to $15.71 million. Shipments from Turkey also surged, up 80.74 percent to $7.95 million, while imports from Cambodia rose 8.54 percent to $15.88 million and Sri Lanka’s were up 10.77 percent to $4.26 million.

Nicaragua was the only Western Hemisphere supplier to crack the Top 10, with its shipments rising 20.15 percent in the month to $4.26 million. On a smaller scale from the region, Colombia’s shipments more than doubled to $2.48 million for January and Guatemala imports were up 32.44 percent to $1.66 million. Overall, as nearshoring initiatives have increased, jeans imports from the Western Hemisphere increased 30.24 percent year over year in January to $67.25 million.