September 14, 2020

Report: U.S. Imports Trending Down 5% but China Recovers and Vietnam Climbs

Jungle Scout's Global Imports Report reveals international trade stats from 2015-2020, explores potential impact from COVID-19

Austin, Texas — September 14, 2020: Today, Jungle Scout, the leading all-in-one platform for selling on Amazon, released a new report exploring the fast-changing landscape of global trade to the United States, and revealing the unprecedented drop in annual U.S. imports for 2020.

The 2020 Global Imports Report explores U.S. maritime import data from 2015-2020 from all countries and across all industries, and highlights major shifts in global leaders and how the international trade landscape has shifted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key insights include:

  • U.S. imports are projected to be down 5% for 2020.
      • Although imports to the U.S. have climbed steadily in past years, total 2020 imports are projected to be down 4.8% year-over-year by the end of 2020.
      • 143 countries had reduced exports to the U.S. between the first half of 2019 to the first half of 2020, with an average drop of 21%.
  • China recovered from its February and March import drops and has dominated in 2020.
      • With 41% of the total share of U.S. imports, China maintains a massive lead on all 200+ countries exporting goods to the U.S. China is also the leader for every product category.
      • China had the most drastic year-over-year reduction in U.S. imports in February and March, but bounced back significantly in April to 40% year-over-year growth. In June, China was the only country to see positive year-over-year growth.
  • Vietnam has climbed the ranks of biggest suppliers to the U.S., rising from #6 in 2015 to #2 in 2020.
      • Vietnam’s total exports to the U.S. are up 72% and its share of U.S. imports increased 65% since 2015. For comparison, nearly all other top-10 U.S. suppliers’ shares dropped in the same time period, with the exception of small increases for China, Belgium, and Thailand.
  • Higher rates of COVID-19 are associated with reduced U.S. imports.
      • China, Vietnam, and Thailand all saw a stark reduction in COVID-19 cases and related deaths in April, May, and/or June, and were simultaneously among the few countries with positive year-over-year import numbers. Comparatively, in India, when COVID-19 cases began rising in March, India’s U.S. imports dropped drastically, and both trends continued through June.
  • Countries that recovered early from 2020’s economic disruption were more likely to “bounce back” — and all are in Asia.
    • During the first half of 2020, only five of 20 countries had net positive growth over the same period in 2019, and all are in Asia: China, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
    • Although Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore saw year-over-year growth of over 100% in February and March, their increases didn’t offset the massive share of imports lost from China during those months.

“Economic disruption is nothing new for 2020, but some of the effects of the year’s turbulence are only just starting to appear,” said Greg Mercer, CEO of Jungle Scout. “American small businesses and enterprises alike depend on imports, so it’s critical to keep a close eye on changes in consumer demand and global supply chains to be able to adapt.” 

About the 2020 Global Imports Report

All data represents United States maritime imports from January 1, 2015, to June 30, 2020 from 237 unique countries. Jungle Scout analyzed more than 63 million maritime U.S. import records, including information on the shipper and shipment, from which country and category are extracted.