The latest data from the US Office of Textile and Apparel (OTEXA) reveals that during October, apparel shipments into the US fell year-on-year as consumers cut spending habits on money worries.
US apparel imports, according to the latest data from OTEXA for the month of October, fell by more than 22% from a year ago, the worst performance since the pandemic.
Dr Sheng Lu, associate professor of apparel and textiles at the University of Delaware, tells Just Style exclusively, the result reads as a “warning sign about fashion companies’ pessimistic outlook on the US economy.”
The data corresponds with figures from the National Retail Federation (NRF) which reveals that during October, US ports handled 2m Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU), down 1.3% from September and down 9.3% from October 2021.
“Likewise, the US consumer confidence index in November 2022 also fell again (i.e., down from 102 in October to 100 in November), reflecting consumers’ growing worries about their household financials,” Lu says.
“Second, the trade data reveals that US fashion companies continue to move sourcing out of China, given various economic and non-economic factors. Notably, while China remained the largest source of US apparel imports during October, it lost nearly ten percentage points of market shares in October 2022 from a year ago (i.e., down from 41% to 32% in quantity and 27% to 19.5% in value). Particularly affected by the implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), only about 10% of US cotton apparel imports came from China this October, which could go down further to a single digit soon.”
However, despite the apparent sourcing shift from China as companies look to diversify sourcing, Lu points out that Asian countries continued to gain new market shares.
“For example, about 74.2% of US apparel imports came from Asia in 2022 (January to October), higher than 72% in 2021.
“Except for China, leading
Asian exporters, including Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, and Cambodia,
all reported higher market shares in 2022 than a year ago. In comparison,
nearshoring from the Western Hemisphere remained stagnant in growth. As
consumers turn more price sensitive during difficult economic times, expanding
sourcing from the Western Hemisphere could face additional headwinds.”
By Just Style