Trade

Imports of Jeans Slow on Inventories, Weak Demand

October, 2023

By Gherzi Textil Organisation, Robert Antoshak
The U.S., EU, and the U.K. imported $10 billion of jeans in 2022, 10% lower than pre-pandemic levels.

The United States, European Union, and the United Kingdom imported $10 billion of jeans in 2022, 10 percent lower than pre-pandemic levels.

In turn, the U.S. imported 39 million dozen pairs of jeans worth $4.1 billion in 2022, roughly equivalent to 2018 levels. Due to a weak market with poor demand, jean imports fell by 35 percent during the first half of 2023. U.S. imports year-to-date through June 2023 stood at $1.4 billion compared to $2 billion during the same period of 2022, with unit imports down similarly.

EU imports faced a similar trajectory to the U.S., as the value of jeans imports in 2022 declined by 20 percent from 2021, while unit imports declined by 30 percent over the same period. 

Jeans imports into the U.K. peaked at $1 billion in 2018, falling to $810 million in 2022, well below pre-pandemic levels. In 2023, imports through May were $266 million—about 30 percent lower than the corresponding period in 2022.  

Shift in sourcing origins

Bangladesh has emerged as the top jeans supplier to the U.S., EU and U.K. In turn, U.S. imports of jeans declined by more than 50 percent. China’s market share of U.S. jeans imports plummeted from 23 percent in 2018 to 11 percent in 2022. The trend continued during the first half of 2023 as China was relegated to fourth place after Bangladesh, Mexico and Pakistan. 

EU trends also put Bangladesh in the top position with a market share of 37 percent, followed by Pakistan (20 percent) and Turkey (18 percent). Moreover, the top six suppliers to the EU enjoy duty-free market access. These include Bangladesh, Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.

Bangladesh and Pakistan supply about two-thirds of the jeans imports by the U.K. Turkey is the third largest supplier. The relative market shares of the three countries have remained consistent over recent years. However, Turkey sells into the market at a higher price point due to a more extensive product mix.

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