Cotton and Wool Outlook, March 2020
U.S. Net Textile and Apparel Imports Rise in 2019
U.S. net textile and apparel fiber imports increased for a third consecutive year in calendar 2019, as consumer demand for clothing remained strong. Net imports surpassed 17.6 billion raw-fiber-equivalent pounds in 2019, nearly 2 percent above a year earlier (fig. 1). Total fiber product imports approached 21.0 billion pounds in 2019, compared with more than 20.8 billion pounds in 2018. Meanwhile, textile and apparel exports in 2019 declined 4 percent to 3.3 billion pounds, the lowest in a decade.
Net imports of synthetic textile and apparel products increased for the 10th consecutive year in 2019—as the popularity of athleisure wear kept demand for synthetics strong—with synthetic products accounting for the largest share of total net imports for each of the past 6 years. In 2019, synthetic textile and apparel products accounted for 51 percent of the total, while cotton products contributed 42 percent, and linen, wool, and silk combined for an additional 7 percent. Although cotton’s share of total net fiber product imports had steadily decreased since 2007, the 2019 share appeared to have stabilized near the 2018 level.