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US Denim Imports: Mexico Unseats China as Top Country of Origin

Total denim imports were $3.7 billion in 2014, down 9.5% from 2013 imports of almost $4.2 billion, due to the fashion cycle shift away from jeans toward yoga pants and other athleisure bottoms. Total unit imports dropped by almost 9 percent, and the average cost per unit edged down slightly to $7.85 per pair.

More than 98 percent of total denim apparel imports were jeans. Men’s and boys’ represented the largest segment, at 55 percent of the total on a dollar basis, up 2.3 percentage points from the prior year, while women’s and girls’ declined to 45 percent of the total.

Mexico was the top source of U.S. denim apparel imports last year, bumping China from the top spot.

U.S. brands imported just over a billion dollars worth of jeanswear from Mexico in 2014, 4.5% less than in 2013. Total units from Mexico fell by 3.7%, with average cost per pair falling by almost one percent to $8.80.

Imports from China fell by a staggering 19 percent in the year, to $987 million. Units declined by almost 14 percent, resulting in a cost per pair decrease of 6.6% to $7.19. China remained the top sourcing country for women’s jeans in 2014, at $736 million, with Bangladesh a distant second at $157 million.

Total denim imports from Bangladesh fell by 7.3% to $426 million. The average cost per pair from Bangladesh rose by 3 percent in the year, to $6.18.

Sub-Saharan Africa gained almost a percentage point of U.S. denim apparel import share in the past year. Imports from Mauritius almost triped to $36 million, while shipments from Kenya grew by 25 percent to $28 million.

Imports from Guatemala plunged by 33 percent to $40 million.

ASEAN countries gained .6 percentage points of U.S. apparel import share due to gains by Vietnam and Cambodia.