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US Denim Imports Jump and Colombia Sees Greatest Growth

Though there’s no telling yet how the current trade climate, and things like threats from the European Union for tariffs on Levi’s jeans, will impact denim imports in the coming months, but for now, things are looking up.

U.S. denim imports were up 8.55% to $548.6 million in February over the same period the year before.

Though China continues to command nearly 26 percent of U.S. denim apparel imports, with 5.83% growth in February, the biggest import increase has come from Colombia. The South American nation is continuing to make a greater name for itself in denim manufacturing, and that fact has paid off when it comes to shipping to the U.S. market. For February, the U.S. took in a substantial 110.4% more denim year-over-year, valued at $11.4 million, from Colombia, making the country the twelfth largest denim supplier to the U.S.

Mexico, still the second largest supplier of denim apparel to the U.S., saw its shipments slide 6.71% to $112.4 million, a 21.7% share of the market. Of the top 10 denim suppliers, Mexico experienced the biggest decline in its exports.

By contrast, Bangladesh, the United States’ third-largest denim supplier, saw its exports to the U.S. grow 11.5% to $68.8 million, while Pakistan, the fourth largest supplier, saw its shipments swell more than 36 percent to $41.5 million—further proof that denim manufacturing continues to shift to the low-cost countries, where quality and innovation have increased exponentially in recent years.

Looking at by-category imports, the U.S. imported $1.87 billion worth of men’s and boy’s denim trousers in the year to February. Shipments are still largely being driven by Mexico, though its exports to the U.S. slipped 6.22% to $97.2 million. Vietnam saw the biggest gains in the category, shipping 145.3% more men’s denim trousers to the U.S. year-over-year to February, or $9.87 million worth of product.

For women’s and girl’s, China still commands 38.6% of the market share. In February, its shipments to the U.S. totaled $106.6 million, a 0.5% gain over the same period in 2017. Pakistan, however, saw the biggest growth, with its shipments to the U.S. in the category up more than 53 percent year over year to $28 million in the month. Cambodia also saw sizable gains, with its shipments swelling more than 44 percent year over year to $13.8 million in February, while Vietnam also enjoyed growth, with the U.S. taking in nearly 35 percent more denim trousers this February over last, its exports reaching $25.5 million in the month.