Denim Apparel Imports Into US Continue To Fall In 2011

Roller Coaster Denimy As we mentioned in our previous report on last quarter imports in 2010 , the denim apparel import continues to fall in the first 2 months of 2011. The fall is not small  –at about 6.3% – compared to the same period  in 2010. The fall is even more when one considers that the last quarter of 2010 , the imports had fallen by 6.8% .

Period 2009 2010 2011 Fall %
Oct – Dec 157 million pcs 148 million pcs   -6.8%
Jan – Feb   74.5 million pcs 69.8 million pcs -6.3%

This fall is even more surprising when we consider that retail sales of clothing in US is not falling and had in fact increased in the last quarter of 2010 by about 5% .

What could be the possible reasons for this fall of denim imports ?

There could be a number of reasons for this continued decrease in imports of denim jeans and apparels into US . Some of these could be :

  • The rising price of cotton had the max impact on the jeans costing and forced retailers to promote other bottoms as they were not really able to pass on the price increase to the consumers.
  • The continued boom in denim consumption in the last three years has peaked out and is in a consolidation phase where inventories need to cleared from the system.
  • The recession in US and EU had actually helped increase the sales of jeans since jeans are a- MOG- “Multiple Occasion Garment” -ie they can be worn on various social and even official occasions . Thus it made economic sense for consumers to buy jeans compared to other bottoms. Hence the increased sales of denim in past few years cannabalised on the sales of other bottom products.
  • The competing products of denim like piece dyed bottoms , corduroys have been suffering as compared to denim when it came to consumer choice . Is there time coming back ????

Whatever the actual reason , it seems likely that the fall in consumption in jeans will continue this year. The industry needs to brace up for the situation in the short term . However,  there no long term worries as Denim is an Evergreen product and it only seems to be a correction phase.

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