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US Footwear Imports Up 6% in 2015

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U.S. footwear imports rose by 6 percent in 2015, to $26.8 billion, according to the most recent U.S. Department of Commerce data, faster than 2014’s growth rate of 4.7 percent, spurred by the health of the athletic and athleisure segments.

Imports from China rose by only 1 percent to $16.86 billion, but comprised the biggest portion, almost 63 percent of total US footwear imports, down from almost 66 percent in 2014.

Vietnam, Italy and Indonesia rounded out the top four sources of U.S. imported footwear in the year, with Vietnam up by 22 percent to $4.3 billion, or 16 percent of total imports, Indonesia ahead by 15.7 percent to over $1.41 billion, and imports from Italy down by more than 1 percent so far this year, to $1.4 billion.

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Vietnam gained more than two percentage points of U.S. footwear import market share in the year, primarily from China’s more than three percentage point share loss.

Though still a relatively small share of total footwear imports, footwear from India has increased by 32 percent so far in 2015, to $446 million.

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Footwear imports increased by 2.4 percent compared in December 2015 compared to the prior year, to a little over $2 billion, outpacing overall goods and services imports, which dropped 7.7 percent drop in the month.

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Footwear exports continued to outperform the total export market in December as well. While overall goods and services exports dropped by 10.1 percent in the month, footwear exports increased by 1.5 percent.

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Canada was the biggest market for U.S. footwear exports in 2015, comprising more than 23 percent of the 2015 total, followed by South Korea and Japan, with 10 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

On a 12-month smoothed basis, which corrects for volatility of data in a particular month, footwear import growth was 5.9 percent in the month. Although rising faster than apparel imports, which increased by 3.6 percent, December represents the smallest monthly increase in footwear imports in the past seven months, but remains well above the low levels of early 2014.

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