Footwear Imports Ahead Almost 4% in Latest Month

Footwear imports continued to outpace overall U.S. import growth in November, buoyed by the strong dollar and healthy consumer demand for the category.

According to the most recent U.S. Department of Commerce data, U.S. footwear imports increased by 3.7% compared to November 2014, to $1.84 billion, versus a 4 percent drop in overall goods and services imports in the month.

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On a 12-month smoothed basis, which corrects for volatility of data in a particular month, footwear import growth was 6.6% in the month. Although outpacing apparel imports, which increased by 4 percent in the month, November represents the smallest monthly increase in footwear imports in the past six months, but remains well above the low levels of early 2014.

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Year-to-date, footwear imports are $24.9 billion, up by 6.1% compared to last year. China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Italy and India are the top sources of U.S. imported footwear so far this year, with Vietnam up by 23 percent to $3.96 billion year-to-date, Indonesia ahead by 15 percent to over $1.29 billion, and China ahead by only 1.1% percent to $15.7 billion. Imports from Italy have fallen by almost 2 percent so far this year, to $1.27 billion, evidence that the luxury sector has been a bit softer this year than last.

Though still a relatively small share of total footwear imports, footwear from India has increased by 34 percent so far in 2015, to $417 million.

Footwear exports continued to outperform the total export market as well. While overall goods and services exports dropped by 10.7% in November, footwear exports declined by only 1.4%.

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Canada is the biggest market for U.S. footwear exports so far this year, comprising more than 23 percent of the total, followed by South Korea and Japan, with 10 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

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