U.S. imports of footwear rose significantly in May as the relatively strong dollar and healthy footwear sector stimulated demand for product from Asia.
According to Commerce Department data released this week, U.S. footwear imports jumped by 6.7% compared to May 2014, to $2.1 billion, versus a 7.2% drop in overall goods and services imports in the month.
On a 12-month smoothed basis, which corrects for volatility of data in a particular month, footwear import growth was six percent in May, its biggest monthly increase in two years.
China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Italy and India are the top sources of U.S. imported footwear so far this year, with Vietnam up by 62 percent to $1.7. billion year to date, and China ahead by 23 percent to $6.6 billion. Imports from Italy are ahead 28 percent so far this year, to $563 million.
Footwear exports continued to outperform the total export market as well, increasing by 1.6% to $65 million, compared to a 7.5% drop in overall imports.
On a 12-month smoothed basis, footwear export growth slowed to 6.6%, its smallest monthly rate in six months.
Footwear imports have increased year-over-year in each of the past fourteen months. Canada is the biggest market for U.S. footwear exports so far this year, comprising almost 22 percent of the total, followed by South Korea and Japan.