After U.S. denim apparel imports declined nearly 25 percent to a value of $2.8 billion in 2020 as demand plummeted in the early onset of Covid-19, jeans shipments came roaring back in 2021, increasing 31.36 percent to $3.68 billion, according to the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA).
Key production countries mounted clear comebacks, while other nations’ manufacturers saw more modest gains.
Jeans imports from top supplier Bangladesh jumped 42.25 percent to $798.42 million in 2021 following 2020’s 3.98 percent decline, according to OTEXA. While labor and factory safety concerns continued, Bangladesh’s import market share rose to 21.69 percent last year from 20 percent in 2020.
No. 2 supplier Mexico roared back with a 39.6 percent hike to $654.87 million for the year, rebounding from a 41.54 percent falloff in 2020. Mexico’s market share climbed to 17.79 percent in 2021 from 16.7 percent the prior year.
Imports from Vietnam rose 9.32 percent to $401.49 million last year after ending 2020 with shipments to the U.S. down 1.08 percent. Market share for the No. 3 supplier fell to 10.94 percent for 2021 from a year-earlier 13.1 percent, as summer factory closures forced importers to look elsewhere.
Observers have said that Vietnam’s manufacturing capacity could be an issue in growing the sector. However, some new developments could change that dynamic.
Saitex has opened a vertical fabric mill 40 miles from Ho Chi Minh City that incorporates spinning, weaving, dyeing and fabric finishing. Advance Denim opened its newest production facility in Nha Trang, Vietnam, named Advance Sico, in 2020.
Vertical denim manufacturing maven Pakistan also revived production in 2021, with imports from the country soaring 54.8 percent to $389.76 million. This came a year after its shipments to the U.S. dipped 2.8 percent. Pakistan’s market share stood at 10.59 percent at year’s end, up from 9 percent in 2020.
Rounding out the Top 5 suppliers with notable denim import market share was China, which was the biggest loser in 2020 with a 52.29 percent drop off, but came back with a 16.87 percent increase in 2021 to $387.91 million. China’s market share dipped to 10.54 percent from 11.8 percent.
Led by Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia and Guatemala were among the Western Hemisphere supplier nations that helped push the region’s shipments to the U.S. up 37.88 percent to 853.13 million last year.