U.S. Travel Goods Imports Still Down in First Three Months of 2021, But Decline Slowed
On May 4, the U.S. government published January-March 2021 import data. U.S. travel goods imports (luggage, backpacks, flatgoods, handbags, business cases/laptop bags and travel bags) slipped 6.5% (by volume) in the first three months 2021 (vs. January-March 2020). While U.S. luggage imports remained way down (-29.5%) in the first three months of 2021, U.S. imports of handbags (+0.4%) and business cases and laptop bags (+11.7%) 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-March 2021, U.S. travel goods imports from China fell 10.4%, with China accounting for only 52.8% 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 #2 supplier Vietnam (11.9%) and #4 Burma (Myanmar) (6.3%) actually grew in the first three months of 2021. But U.S. travel goods imports from every major supplier fell in the first three months of 2021, including #3 Cambodia (-8.4%), #5 India (-18.6%), and #6 Indonesia (-18.7). 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 (7.9%), #4 Burma (Myanmar) (5.1%), and #5 India (3.7%). U.S. imports of travel goods account for approximately 99% of the U.S. travel goods market.