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US Footwear Imports From China Continue Slide, as Other Top Suppliers Rise

China’s position as the top supplier of footwear to the U.S. market kept sinking in April, while imports from the next five top countries were on the rise.

Footwear imports from China fell 8.4 percent for the year-to-date through April, compared to the same period in 2018, to a value of $4.03 billion. This was a faster pace of decline than the 8.2 percent year-to-date drop-off through March. It also brought China’s market share down to 49.5 in volume terms in the first four months of the year, as companies diversify their sourcing in lieu of ongoing tariff threats from the Trump administration.

And China’s decline was even more pronounced in volume terms, as 529.13 million pairs of footwear entered the U.S. in the year through April, a decrease of 14.8 percent from the same period a year earlier. This came as overall footwear imports were down in value and volume year-to-year in the four months through April. The value of overall footwear imports dropped 1.1 percent to $4.03 billion, while volume fell 8.4 percent in the period to 792.01 million pairs.

At the same time, footwear imports from Vietnam increased 9.5 percent to $2.08 billion, giving the country a 25.6 percent market share, increasing from 25.2 percent in the year-to-date for the first three months of the year. According to the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America (FDRA), shipments from Vietnam have risen 35 of the last 36 months.

“Vietnamese volume dominates the changes in total footwear shipments so far this year, almost exclusively at the expense of declining Chinese shipments,” FDRA said.

The next four top suppliers–Indonesia, Italy, India and Cambodia–all posted gains in the year through April. Footwear imports from Indonesia were up 6.7 percent to $559.91 million in value, shipments from Italy rose 4.1 percent to $478.93 million, imports from India gained 6.2 percent to $143.82 million and goods arriving from Cambodia were up 2.6 percent to $135.55 million.

Athletic footwear imports fell 4.6 percent in April, which FDRA said was “constrained by declining shipments from China, Vietnam, and Indonesia.” Bootwear imports posted a 0.1 percent gain for the month, which FDRA credited with strong shipments from Indonesia (up 14.7 percent) offset by a 13.1 percent drop from China.

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