As an importer, it’s vital to stay up-to-date with the latest trade news so you can try to gauge the impacts on your business. In a post-pandemic trade climate, following trends could be more important than ever.
Although US imports, on the whole, are performing spectacularly compared to last year, there are 6 import categories that are down more than $1 billion from 2019. Each of these categories might reflect a change that has occurred due to the pandemic.
It’s no secret that COVID-19 has had a serious impact on international trade (like everything else in the world). Countries are experiencing new product trends that can inform importers and exporters alike.
Looking at these 6 imports that have dropped significantly can help you choose more lucrative imports in the future. If you are currently importing any of these products, you might want to think about adjusting your import plan to sell products that have more immediate growth potential.
1. Passenger vehicles
The category of passenger vehicles is down $6.33 billion from 2019. This huge decline of 15.83% is mainly caused by the current computer chip shortage. This has led to a reduction in vehicle manufacturing. Other products affected by the shortage include appliances and consumer electronics.
Another possible cause of the drop in imported vehicles is the pandemic itself. Many people have been enjoying staying home more and not having a commute. The idea of buying a new car is not necessarily on their minds. Others have lost their jobs, meaning they can’t afford to purchase a new car at this time. It’s important to note that used cars are currently in high demand.
Oil imports are down $6.33 billion from 2019 as well, with a decline of 15.83%. This drop has been steady in recent years, with 2021 oil imports down 62.17% from 2013. Of course, oil has not been as vital during the pandemic, but that’s only part of the story.
Overall, the US is leaning towards greater self-sufficiency and less imported oil. You might think this also reflects the trend of electric cars and sustainable fuel, but US oil consumption continues to increase each year. For now, it appears this decrease in oil imports does not point to a decline in oil consumption.
3. Aircraft engines and parts
Which company is the leading exporter of the US? It’s Boeing. Because of the problems that the plane manufacturer has been facing over the last year, aircraft engines and parts are down $4.74 billion from 2019. That’s a shocking decline of 44.82%.
The combination of Boeing’s string of fatal crashes and the global pandemic that grounded most of the world’s planes for an entire year has led to this significant drop. Because Boeing has slowed its manufacturing significantly, it doesn’t need to import the same volume of aircraft engines it used to.
4. Non-engine aircraft parts
Of course, Boeing’s difficulties haven’t just affected engine imports. Non-engine aircraft parts have fallen $3.18 billion from 2019, a decline of 44.84%.
If you import anything tied to the airplane industry, you’ve probably been feeling the disastrous effects of Boeing’s downfall. Fortunately, United Airlines recently announced an order of 200 Boeing Max jets for their post-Covid growth plan. That should boost aircraft-related imports in the next few months.
Gasoline imports have dropped $1.59 billion since 2019, a decline of 8.59%. Although the fall isn’t as pronounced as that of imported oil, the reason for the decline in imported gasoline is probably the same. Again, the US is endeavoring to become more self-sufficient when it comes to oil and gasoline.
This may not directly impact you as an importer since you probably don’t import gasoline. However, you can learn from this decline regarding the overall trends surrounding the automobile industry. Perhaps now isn’t the best time to be importing products in this category.
6. Women’s apparel
Of all the imports on this list, this one is probably the most difficult to explain. The category of women’s apparel is down $1.02 billion from 2019. Surprisingly, the subcategory of women’s pants alone accounts for approximately 40% of this loss.
Perhaps women aren’t spending as much money as they used to on clothes. Another explanation is the US-China trade war, which has heavily impacted trade between the two countries. China went from being the top supplier of women’s pants to the US as recently as 2020 to losing its number one spot to Bangladesh this year. It’s possible that this supply chain disruption has caused fewer pants to be imported to the US.
US imports that are soaring in 2021
Let’s take a break from the negative and focus on the positive. Which US imports are off the charts for 2021? What are some products you may want to consider importing in the future?
Computer imports are up 29.14% since 2019 and furniture imports are also up 25.17% since 2019. Other import growth trends include food, machinery, office equipment, pharmaceuticals, and textiles.
Are you thinking about starting your own import business or changing the products you currently import? Don’t forget to keep these things in mind when deciding which products to import in 2021. Keep an eye on trade news to catch any new trends that could benefit (or harm) your business.
No matter how big or small your business is, BorderBuddy can help you with the import process. We take care of the details of the customs process so you don’t have to. More than that, we stay on the cutting edge of the international trade world and keep you updated on changing regulations that could impact your business. Give us a call today.