The battle between China and Vietnam for U.S. apparel market share is far from over.
Although Vietnam has gained .8 percentage points of U.S. apparel import market share so far this year compared to the same period in 2012, and China has lost .4 percentage points, China accelerated shipments of apparel to the U.S. in July, increasing its year-to-date share of all U.S. apparel imports from 33.8% in June to 35% in July.
U.S. apparel imports from China totaled $3.9 billion in July, bringing the year-to-date total to $15.6 billion. Year-to-date units (on a square meter equivalent basis) rose 6%, driving the cost per unit down by a higher-than-average 3%.
Vietnam now has a more than 10% share of U.S. apparel imports, an increase of .8 percentage points over the first seven months of 2012. Apparel imports from Vietnam totaled more than $800 million in July, and have grown 4 times faster than those from China so far this year, though the total dollar volume is less than one-third the size of China’s.
Total apparel imports grew 3.6% on a dollar basis through July compared to the same period last year, according to the most recent data published by the US Department of Commerce’s Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA). Total unit volume, measured on a square meter equivalent basis, increased 5.8% in the year-to-date period, driving the average cost per SME down by 2.2%.
China had gains in: women’s and girls’ woven cotton blouses and pants; manmade fiber men’s knit shirts, women’s blouses, and hosiery; manmade bras and other intimate apparel. These increases were offset by declines in many other categories, including cotton and manmade fiber dresses.
Vietnam maintained its strong number two position thanks to increases in manmade fiber dresses, women’s woven and knit tops, and men’s manmade fiber knit shirts. Total apparel imports from Vietnam so far this year are $4.5 billion, up 12.5% from last year. The cost per SME of apparel imported from Vietnam fell by only .4% in the month.
Despite all the issues with safety and infrastructure, Bangladesh came roaring back in July, when it exported $500 million worth of apparel to the U.S., and has gained more than .3 points of US apparel market share in the first seven months of 2013, to 6.7% of total apparel imports. It is now the fourth largest source of US apparel, and may soon rival Indonesia for the number three spot.
Keep an eye on Sri Lanka. So far this year, it has shipped over $900 million in apparel to the U.S., and threatens to unseat Pakistan as one of the top ten U.S. trading partners.
Mexico, Honduras and India have also suffered significant share losses in U.S. apparel. Both CAFTA and OECD lost share to ASEAN and CBI.