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Published
Jun 10, 2014
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Denim: Jeans imports up 8.6% in Europe in 2013

Published
Jun 10, 2014

Messe Frankfurt, organizer of Texworld, has just published a study on the denim market, from the perspective of European imports. Two major points may be underlined: the market is in better shape than ready-to-wear in general, and Turkey and Bangladesh have overtaken China in terms of value, although not by the volume of imports.

So first of all, according to Eurostat, the EU-27, which includes about 505 million inhabitants, imported nearly 500 million pairs of jeans in 2013, representing a total value of 3.69 billion euros.

Over the past six years, imports of jeans have experienced an average annual growth of 5.3% compared to 2.2% for clothing.


Following a decline in 2012, denim returned to growth last year in terms of imports. In 2013, they increased in value by 4.4% and by 8.6% in volume.

The second salient point noted by the study conducted by Jean-François Limantour, strategic advisor to the German company which organizes Texworld and Intertextile: China’s position.

In one year, China has gone from the first to third in terms of value, overtaken by Turkey and Bangladesh, which respectively accounted for 22% and 21% of imports, as compared with 19% for China. These three countries were followed by Pakistan (11%), Tunisia (9%), Morocco (4%), Cambodia (3%), Egypt (2%), India (2 %), and Vietnam (1%).

By volume, China, which exported 142 million pairs of jeans to the European Union, is still in first place, but not by much. Bangladesh exported 141 million pairs and Turkey around 47 million.

But by article, according to Eurostat, jeans from China cost on average 4.97 euros as opposed to 13.98 from Turkey and 5.5 from Bangladesh. By volume, imports from China, Egypt and Morocco respectively decreased by 4.1%, 7.8% and 10.9%. Those who made the biggest gains were Pakistan (+23.2%), Bangladesh (20.6%), Cambodia (+48%) and Vietnam (+22%).

In terms of importing countries, Germany is the most attractive on the European market for jeans. Indeed, it is the largest importer by both value and volume (114 million jeans imported in 2013) and is also the market with the highest growth rate (+7.2% per year since 2005).

The second most attractive market is the UK (499 million euros and 74.4 million jeans in 2013, with an average annual growth rate of 2.5% for the past 8 years). It is followed by Spain, which has experienced a very strong average annual growth since 2005 (12.5%), achieving a size comparable to Britain in both value and the number of articles.

The market for imported jeans in France and Italy each represent about a third of the value of Germany. Growth in each has been relatively weak since 2005 (an average annual rate of 1.9% for France and 1.8% for Italy).

But, unsurprisingly, it was Italy that purchases the most expensive jeans (15 euros per pair in 2013), followed by Austria (10.49 euros), Denmark (9.31 euros), Germany (8.77 euros), and Sweden (8.17 euros).

In contrast, prices of jeans imported by Spain (6.66 euros each), Great Britain (6.70 euros), France (7.26 euros) and Portugal suggest that jeans imported by these countries are generally from a substantially lower range.

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