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European Union Sees Blues Progression

A recent study of the denim business in the EU shows a healthy recovery for European imports in 2013.

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WWD Berlin Preview issue 06/24/2014

While the international jeans market may have registered assorted up and downs these past few years, a recent study of the denim business in the European Union shows a healthy recovery for European imports in 2013.

This story first appeared in the June 24, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

According to a study released by Messe Frankfurt-Texworld, jeans sales in the 27 EU countries rose 4.4 percent to reach a record worth of 3.69 billion euros, or $4.9 billion at average exchange, for 2013. Between 2007 and 2013, jeans imports in the EU rose 5.3 percent annually, compared with 2.2 percent growth in overall apparel imports.

EU nations imported 494 million pairs of jeans in 2013, a gain of 8.6 percent over the prior year. The study, penned by Jean-François Limantour, suggested, “Jeans are more than ever before an essential item of clothing for any European consumer, whatever their age or sex.”

When it comes to importing the blue commodity, Germany leads the pack, bringing in 114 million pairs in 2013, and clocking 7 percent annual increases in import volume since 2005.

In terms of prices, however, the study showed Italy imports the most expensive jeans (15 euros/$19.93 a pair) followed by Austria (10 euros/$13.28), Germany and Denmark (8.77 euros/$11.65), whereas the average price for jeans imported by Spain, the U.K., and France range from 6.66 to 7.26 euros, or $8.85 to $9.60.

On the whole, however, prices have come down, with the average price of imported jeans decreasing by 3.9 percent in 2013, due to “the relative calm in cotton prices” and the ongoing economic crisis, the study noted. Rising cotton prices generated average price rises of 6.6 and 5.4 percent in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

Who produces Europe’s favorite blues? Turkey was the EU’s major supplier in 2013, beating out 2012 leader China, which moved to number three. Bangladesh is the second-largest EU supplier, with Pakistan, Tunisia, Morocco, Cambodia, Egypt, India and Vietnam retaining their respective 2012 four-through-10 slots in 2013.