Apparel Imports Grow as Consumers Shop Again

The Back-to-School season was just one of the reasons U.S. retailers brought in more apparel and textile goods compared with last year.

Total imports for apparel and textiles for the 12 months ending June 30 saw a 2.3 percent bump in volume while the dollar value was up less than 1 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

That means retailers are either bargaining hard to get cheaper prices or bringing in less costly goods to attract more consumers, who have been watching their pennies during the country’s slow economic recovery.

China was still the top apparel and textiles provider, making up about 47 percent of the volume shipped during the 12-month period. That totaled 25.9 billion square-meter equivalents. The dollar value of the goods equaled $40.8 billion, accounting for almost 40 percent of the dollar value imported into the United States.

Vietnam, the No. 2 provider of apparel and textiles to the U.S. market, had a very good year. Its apparel and textiles exports were up 10 percent to 3.4 billion SMEs, valued at $8.1 billion.

Double-digit increases also were seen from Bangladesh. Imports from that country, which has seen a number of garment-factory accidents and fires that have killed more than 1,200 workers in recent months, rose 11 percent in volume to 1.8 billion SMEs, or $4.8 billion.

India also had a very good year, seeing its apparel and textiles exports to the United States inch up 5.5 percent, to 3.5 billion SMEs, or $6 billion in goods.

Taking a heavy hit was Mexico, which has continued to see declines in apparel and textile exports to the United States. U.S. retailers and manufacturers saw their imports from Mexico drop 4 percent to 2.7 billion SMEs, valued at $4.65 billion.

In Central America, Honduras continues to be the biggest exporter of apparel and textiles to the United States. It saw its exports grow 1.7 percent to 1.1 billion SMEs, which had a value of $2.7 billion.