U.S. Travel Goods Imports Remain Way Down in First Two Months of 2021
On April 7, the U.S. government published January-February 2021 import data. U.S. travel goods imports (as described under HTS Heading 4202 – luggage, backpacks, flatgoods, handbags, business cases/laptop bags, and travel bags) slid 24.8% (by volume) in the first two months 2021 (versus January-February 2020). U.S. travel goods imports fell by double digits in every category, led by a 41.8% decline in U.S. luggage imports. In addition to the obvious impact of COVID-19 on sales and on travel, the latest import numbers show the accelerating trend away from China. In January 2021, U.S. travel goods imports from China fell 32.5%, with China accounting for only 53.8% of total U.S. travel goods imports. For comparison, in 2016, China accounted for 84.7% of all U.S. travel goods imports. U.S. travel goods imports from every major supplier also fell in the first two months of 2021 – #2 Vietnam (-2.2%), #3 Cambodia (-16.0%), #4 Burma (Myanmar) (-24.0%), and #5 India (-23.1%). Despite the declines, most top suppliers gained import share from China, with U.S. travel goods imports from Vietnam now accounting for 21.9% of all U.S. travel goods imports, followed by #3 Cambodia (7.7%), #4 Burma (Myanmar) (4.5%), and #5 India (3.6%). U.S. imports of travel goods account for approximately 99% of the U.S. travel goods market.