In 2023, Apparel Imports from Europe Defy Overall Downturn in the USA

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Europe Defy Overall Downturn in the USA: The United States’ apparel import value fell to $77.8 billion in 2023, a 22% decline. Despite this, European suppliers were able to weather the storm. Imports of clothing from the EU into the US defied expectations, rising 2.4% to $3 billion in fiscal 2023.

European garment manufacturers have been struggling with slow domestic demand, falling order values inside their own regions, and inflationary pressures; this good news is a relief for them. The luxury goods industry was largely responsible for a 3.5% increase in Italian imports to $2 billion and a 10.8% increase in French imports to $203 million, while imports from the UK stayed flat at $126 million.

Europe Defy Overall Downturn in the USA

It should be noted that the United States imported $2.4 billion worth of clothing from Europe in 2021. While they surpassed $3 billion in 2022, they were still below the $3.8 billion reported in 2019, before the epidemic. However, while garment imports from other regions declined in the US in 2023, imports from the EU remained stable, which was unusual.

The inverse is true: after growing by 11.3% in 2022, US apparel imports from China fell by 25% to $16.3 billion in 2018. The United States’ second-largest garment supplier, Vietnam, saw a 27% surge in 2022 imports but a 22.2% decline to $14.1 billion the following year. Despite a 25% drop from 2023, Bangladesh was able to keep its exports to the US at $7.3 billion, the same level as in 2021.

Brands in the West and the United States felt the effects of the 2023 order fall since their customers had placed large pre-pandemic orders to ensure a smooth recovery and avoid shipment delays. But selling off such huge stockpiles was more difficult than expected, leading to a precipitous drop in 2023 orders—a pattern mirrored in sourcing data from the European Union.

As a result of their ability to sidestep the decline in US orders, European garment manufacturers stood out. On the other side, imports from neighboring Mexico, as well as India, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Honduras, fell by 10.9%, 25.1%, 22.5%, and 23.6%, respectively.

After remaining relatively stable at roughly $31.1 billion for two years, US textile imports saw a substantial 15.7% decline in 2023, reaching $27.1 billion. In 2023, the European Union’s textile exports to the United States fell by 13%, amounting to $2.3 billion, proving that even this industry was not immune to the negative trend.

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