US Apparel Imports in US$ and Square Meters - Quarterly Volume, Value and Unit Value per Category - % Change and Share

US Apparel Imports in 3rd Quarter and Jan-Sep 2016: Categories Statistical Report

Man-made fiber apparel imports have begun declining in the third quarter of 2016 in volume terms, for the first time in many years. Cotton apparel imports have more sharply decreased, confirming the long-term shift from cotton to cheaper polyester fibers, and as reflected by our detailed analysis of US apparel imports per category. Our series of statistical tables offer a comprehensive view of volume, value and unit value changes, compared with previous quarters and years in 2011-16. Full data are available for downloading into a comprehensive table.

Once again, cotton apparel imports have more sharply declined in the third quarter this year than man-made fiber apparel.

In volume terms, MMF apparel imports have fallen for the first time in more than five years, being down 3% from a year earlier.

In the meantime, cotton apparel imports have dropped by 5.7% after an annual decline of 2.9% in the second quarter.

When considering the last five years, cotton apparel imports have fallen 4% from their level in the third quarter 2011.

By contrast, MMF apparel imports have surged 31% in volume terms over the same 5-year period.

In the third quarter, unit values have respectively fallen 4.2% and 3.4% in cotton and MMF categories.

Average unit price remained much lower in MMF categories at $2.58 per square meter equivalent vs $3.31 per SME in cotton apparel categories.

This lower unit prices in corresponding categories explain the continuous shift from cotton to polyester and other synthetic and artificial fibers, which has been observed over the last years.

In order to limit the rise of production costs, cheaper material prices are being selected by exporters and importers.

In value terms as a result, imports of cotton apparel have lost 17% in five years from the 3rd quarter 2011, whereas imports of MMF apparel have risen 27%.



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Apparel Import Database

More detailed data are available for key cotton and man-made fiber categories in our apparel import database, with import volumes, values and unit values per origin:


U.S. Cotton Apparel Imports

U.S. Man-Made Fiber Apparel Imports


U.S. Knit Apparel Imports

U.S. Woven Apparel Imports






















Download first half data from Jan-Sep 2011 (.csv file)





























Download quarterly data from Q1 2011 (.csv file)





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