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Tier Two Jeans Suppliers Shine Amid January’s Import Declines

U.S. denim apparel imports, the vast majority of which are jeans, started off the year with more moderate year-over-year declines than the substantial plunge they experienced in 2020.

Imports of jeans were down 5.36 percent to a value of $251.8 million in January compared to a year earlier before the affects of the coronavirus pandemic were felt in the United States. This compares to the 25 percent decline to $2.8 billion felt in the 12 months through December, as demand plummeted during the Covid crisis, according to data from the Commerce Department Office of Textiles & Apparel (OTEXA).

January data surfaced clear winners and losers among the Top 10 suppliers. Imports from top jeans supplier Bangladesh increased 8.73 percent compared to a year earlier to a value of $56.4 million, while No. 2 producer Mexico saw its shipments rise 1.31 percent to $42 million after declining 40 percent for the year through January, according to OTEXA.

Surges were also experienced by Pakistan, with a gain of 21.54 percent to $26 million, while Nicaragua’s shipments jumped 39.35 percent in the month to $7.16 million and imports from Lesotho climbed 64.9 percent to $8.27 million.

On the downside were imports from No. 3 and 4 suppliers Vietnam and China. Denim apparel imports from China–in the midst of a long-term decline over concerns from sourcing executives over high tariffs and political strife with the U.S.–fell 16.42 percent to $28.44 million. Vietnam, which experts feel could be reaching a capacity crunch, saw its shipments decrease 34.49 percent to $24.97 million.

Rounding out the Top 10, category imports from Cambodia declined 9.1 percent to $14.63 million, shipments from Egypt fell 41.86 percent to $8.82 million and those from Sri Lanka dropped 35.95 percent to $3.84 million.

Second-tier suppliers made notable gains. Imports from Madagascar jumped 153.97 percent to $5.05 million and shipments from Turkey were up 40 percent in the month to $4.4 million. Ethiopia, Kenya, Italy, Tanzania and Mauritius were among other smaller suppliers seeing increases.