Following a resurgence to pre-pandemic levels, driving global recovery in 2022, U.S. textile and apparel imports have experienced a significant setback of 22.7% in the first half of the current year, amounting to $51.3 billion (€46.9 billion).
The decline affected all countries supplying textiles to the United States, starting with China (-28.40%), accounting for $11.3 billion of goods during the half-year period. The decline is only slightly less for its major contenders, such as Vietnam (-26.18%), India (-23.9%), Bangladesh (-24.1%), and Indonesia (-27.5%).
The European Union, as the next supplier in line, managed to mitigate the drop in exports to the US to -3.5%, contributing $2.7 billion worth of goods. Only Mexico (-3%) and Italy (-0.7%) also avoid a more pronounced decline.
This deceleration in orders follows the strong surge they experienced in 2022, which brought them back to pre-pandemic levels. This momentum spurred the global recovery of the textile industry, as highlighted by the French Fashion Institute. Remarkably, the institute noted that U.S. textile and apparel imports had even exceeded European imports.
This decline in U.S. imports occurred amidst a backdrop of more cautious consumer behavior due to inflation, which characterized the latter half of 2022 and the first half of 2023. Consumers "remain cautious and concerned about the current economic environment," summarized the National Retail Federation (NRF) in May. Consequently, buyers are exercising prudence to avoid overstock and losses.
In 2022, the United States imported $132 billion worth of textiles and apparel, marking a notable increase from $113 billion the previous year. However, this level still falls short of the $127.7 billion reported in 2019.