Having witnessed a tremendous uptick over the years, the US market for denim jeans is estimated to be around 25 per cent of the global denim apparel market. As per Global Industry Analysts Inc (GIA), the total value of the market is expected to reach $16.40 billion in 2021. The import data released by OTEXA also supports the market value estimated by GIA. As per an OTEXA report, US’ imports of denim apparels increased by 28.56 per cent Y-o-Y to $2.54 billion during January-September ’21 period. In terms of quantity, the imports grew by30 per cent to 27.07 million dozen annually.
However, compared to pre-COVID period, the sourcing of denim apparels by the US’ declined by 10 per cent in values and 5.74 per cent in quantities. Of the total denim apparels imported by US from January-September ’21, value of men and boys’ jeans surged 35.14 per cent Y-o-Y to $1.27 billion value, while the value of women and girls’ jeans surged by 23.70 per cent to $1.20 billion The remaining miniscule values were contributed by denim skirts and denim jackets.
Basic denim in demand
The data indicates, US denim buyers changed their preferences during COVID-19. The unit prices of denim apparels shrank hurting the exporting destinations. During the January-September ’19, unit prices per dozen of imported denim apparels shrunk 4.38 per cent to $ 95.10 in the same period of 2020 and further reduced to $93.95 in the 9-month period of 2021.This decline indicates the preference of US buyers to more basic jeans commodities and search for low cost destinations.
Bangladesh surpasses Mexico in US denim exports
The data also confirms, Bangladesh has now surpassed Mexico as the leading denim exporter to the US in 2021. Bangladesh’s exports increased by 23.74 per cent in 2021’s first 9-month period as compared to the corresponding period in 2019. The high UVR from Mexico is hurting its exports despite being in close proximity to the US and getting an advantage of ‘zero’ duty rates for jeans under USMCA.
China’s dominance has also come to an end as unit prices have massively contracted in the last two years’ time. China’s average UVR of the shipped denim clothing to the US, which earlier was $97.14 per dozen are now reduced to $75.24 per dozen while the country has further slipped to fifth position in the tally.
Pakistan gains advantage in denim exports surge
China’s decline is an advantage for Pakistan which has slowly increased its denim apparel exports to the US. In terms of export value of denim apparels Pakistan saw an increase from $194.94 million during January-September ’19 to $275.89 million in January-September ’21. This value surpasses China’s export to the US and comes close to Vietnam’s figure as both countries have been witnessing sluggish denim shipment over the months.