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Web Exclusive | May 2016

Major shifts in denim import

Denim brands and retailers have made a sea-change in sourcing strategies in the first quarter of 2016, according to data released last week by the International Trade Administration’s Office of Textiles and Apparel, or OTEXA. In the first three months of 2016, denim imports from China represented 24.6 per cent of the total, down from 24.9 per cent a year ago.

Imports from Mexico suffered an even bigger fall, dropping from 30 per cent of total U.S. denim imports in the first quarter of 2015 to 26.7 per cent in 2016. Bangladesh and Pakistan each gained 100 basis points of share, to become the number 3 and 4 suppliers of denim jeans to the U.S. market. This is consistent with industry trends showing a shift in denim market share toward the fast fashion retailers that are a favorite of younger consumers.

Total U.S. imports of denim jeans fell by 4.3 per cent to $674.6 million in the first quarter. Units declined 3.5 per cent to 85 million, resulting in a drop of 0.8 per cent in the average cost of a pair of imported jeans. Men’s and boy’s jeans suffered the biggest drop, with the dollar value of imports down 7.8 per cent to $351.6 million.

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