The value of total apparel imports for the first eight months of 2014 increased by 2.2 percent compared to the same period last year, to $53.9 billion, according to data released last week by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA). Total unit volume, measured on a square meter equivalent basis, increased by 1.9%, driving up the average cost per SME by 0.1%.
Vietnam has enjoyed the biggest share gain of U.S. apparel imports so far this year, growing from 10.1% of total apparel imports in the first eight months of 2013 to 11.3% in 2014, a 1.2 percentage point share gain.
In June, U.S. apparel imports from Vietnam totaled a record $908 million, a 19.9% gain over last June, bringing the year-to-date total ahead 14.6% to almost $6.1 billion.
Vietnam is exporting more expensive garments to the U.S. than in the past, with its cost per SME up by 2.5% so far this year. Key categories for Vietnam are: women’s cotton knit tops, women’s and men’s cotton pants, women’s manmade fiber knit tops and dresses, and cotton underwear.
China has suffered the biggest share loss so far in 2014, dropping from 36 percent to 35 percent of total U.S. apparel imports. China’s apparel shipments to the U.S. dipped by 2 percent in July, to $3.3 billion. Units (on an SME basis) increased by 3.8%, however, resulting in a 3 percent decline in average garment cost on an SME basis.
Key product categories from China include women’s cotton knit tops, women’s and men’s cotton pants, women’s manmade fiber knit tops and dresses, manmade fiber hosiery and manmade fiber bras.
Bangladesh edged ahead of Indonesia as the third largest source of apparel to the U.S. on both a dollar and unit basis. Both countries have lost share so far this year, however.
India has gained a small amount of U.S. apparel import share this year so far. Key categories include men’s and women’s cotton and manmade fiber knit and woven tops.