T-shirt Imports by Country
by Daniel Workman
Overall, the cost of imported knitted or crocheted T-shirts totaled US$42.9 billion in 2021. That dollar amount reflects a 12.1% increase for all importing countries since 2017 when international purchases of T-shirts cost $38.3 billion.
Year over year, worldwide T-shirt imports accelerated in overall cost by 19.8% compared to $35.8 billion during 2020.
From a continental perspective, buyers in Europe purchased the highest dollar worth of imported T-shirts at $22.3 billion or 52% of the global total for 2021. In second place were importers in North America at 20.6% while another 19.8% of T-shirts imported worldwide was delivered to customers in Asia.
Smaller percentages went to Latin America (3.5%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, Oceania (2.2%) mostly Australia and New Zealand, and Africa (1.8%).
Cotton is the dominant material for T-shirt manufacturing. Cotton T-shirts accounted for $31.2 billion in worldwide purchases or approaching three-quarters (72.6%) of all T-shirts imported during 2021. Similar apparel made from textiles other than cotton equaled $11.7 billion for the remaining 27.4%.
For research purposes, the 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix for knitted or crocheted T-shirt is 6109. Drilling down, cotton T-shirts fall under 610910 while T-shirts made from other materials are categorized as 610990.
T-shirt Imports by Country
Below are the 15 countries that imported the highest dollar value worth of knitted or crocheted T-shirts (regardless of source materials) during 2021.
United States: US$7.4 billion (17.2% of total imported T-shirts)
Germany: $4.4 billion (10.2%)
France: $2.4 billion (5.6%)
United Kingdom: $2.3 billion (5.3%)
Japan: $2.1 billion (4.8%)
Spain: $1.71 billion (4%)
Italy: $1.69 billion (3.9%)
Netherlands: $1.6 billion (3.7%)
Belgium: $1.19 billion (2.8%)
Poland: $1.15 billion (2.7%)
China: $1.12 billion (2.6%)
South Korea: $935.4 million (2.2%)
Hong Kong: $800.7 million (1.9%)
Austria: $776 million (1.8%)
Australia: $774.7 million (1.8%)
By value, the listed 15 countries purchased 70.5% of all T-shirts imported in 2021.
Among the above countries, the fastest-growing markets for T-shirts since 2017 were: Poland (up 86.8%), mainland China (up 71%), South Korea (up 28.2%) and the United States of America (up 26.5%).
Those countries that posted declines in their purchases of imported T-shirts were led by: Hong Kong (down -17.2%), United Kingdom (down -12.4%), Spain (down -9.9%) and Japan (down -6%).
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