U.S. footwear imports increased 30 percent to 1.65 billion pairs for the year to date through October compared to the same period in 2020, on par with the nine-month year-over-year gains, according to the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles & Apparel (OTEXA).
Footwear imports from top supplier China also maintained their pace, up 29.8 percent again to reach 962.53 million pairs in the 10-month period. This comes despite tariffs on the category from China and ongoing calls to repeal them.
American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) president and CEO Steve Lamar reacted to reports last week that prices in America rose 6.8 percent in the 12 months ending in November–the largest rise in nearly 40 years–with prices for clothing and footwear rose 5 percent and 4.7 percent during this time, and said “this is a direct result of unnecessary tariffs.”
“These price tags reflect a mix of record-setting inflationary pressure, tariffs on imports and other excessive fees faced by companies who are working to keep Americans affordably dressed,” Lamar said. “These price increases are clearly unsustainable for consumers and brands alike…That’s why AAFA is urging the Biden administration to continue working on immediate actions…to provide broad and immediate tariff relief to American businesses today.”
No. 2 supplier Vietnam saw its shipments rise 26.8 percent in the period to 419.11 million pairs, also keeping pace with the nine-month increase, even though analysts and companies were concerned after many Vietnamese factories shut down this summer over Covid-19 breakouts.
For the year to date though October, China and Vietnam have combined for an 83.6 percent footwear import market share–the same as the imports share from the previous month, according to OTEXA.
Looking at the next two largest footwear suppliers, shipments processed at U.S. ports from Indonesia rose 35.4 percent to 98.08 million pairs, while imports from Cambodia rose a more moderate 13.4 percent to 43.16 million pairs.