U.S. Travel Goods Imports Slowed in First Four Months of 2021
This month, the U.S. government published January-April 2021 import data. U.S. travel goods imports (as described under HTS Heading 4202 – click links to get specific import data on luggage, backpacks, flatgoods, handbags, business cases/laptop bags, and travel bags) fell slightly (1.2% by volume) in the first four months 2021 (versus January-April 2020). While U.S. luggage (-12.6%) and backpack (-30.6%) imports remained significantly down in the first four months of 2021, U.S. imports of business cases/laptop bags (+13.3%), handbags (+13.9%), and personal leather goods (+1.6%) actually saw increases.
In addition to the obvious impact of COVID-19 on sales and on travel and continuing issues with shipping, the latest import numbers show the accelerating trend away from China. In January-April 2021, U.S. travel goods imports from China slipped 5.7%, with China accounting for only 52.3% 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 #2 supplier Vietnam (17.2%) and #4 Burma (Myanmar) (9.2%) actually grew in the first four months of 2021. But U.S. travel goods imports from every major supplier fell in the first four months of 2021, including #3 Cambodia (-6.2%), #5 India (-9.1%), and #6 Indonesia (-12.2). Despite the declines, most top suppliers gained import share from China, with U.S. travel goods imports from Vietnam now accounting for 22.1% of all U.S. travel goods imports, followed by #3 Cambodia (8.0%), #4 Burma (Myanmar) (4.8%), and #5 India (3.9%). U.S. imports of travel goods account for approximately 99% of the U.S. travel goods market.