Major Imported Products by Continent

Global customers (courtesy of Pixabay.com)

Import markets (Pixabay)

As international product buyers, Asia represents the most lucrative continent consuming US$6.769 trillion worth of imported products during 2017. In second place was Europe at $6.377 trillion trailed by North America’s $3.621 trillion in import purchases.

Smaller amounts were imported by South American countries ($892.6 billion in imports), Africa ($492 billion), Oceania ($290.4 billion) led by Australia, then Central America ($99.1 billion).

Continents spending more on imported goods from 2016 to 2017 were led by Central America (up 26%), Asia (up 14%), Oceania (up 13.9%), South America (up 10.8%) then Europe (up 10.5%).

Expanding their purchases by single-digits year over year were importers located in Africa (up 8.1%) and North America (up 7.3%).

Information presented below is chunked by continents starting with the greatest overall value in import purchases during 2017 (Asia, Europe, North America) followed by tabbed tables for continents buying a smaller totals of imported goods (South America, Africa, Oceania, Central America).

Most Powerful Import Markets by Continent

Asia

Asia’s Major Imported Products

Asia is the leading continent for importing electronics components and solar power semi-conductors, as well as petroleum oils, coal, iron, copper, gold and soya beans. Asia is also the most valuable international market for mobile phones.

Please note that the percentage of global total amount shown applies to Asia’s share of the worldwide total purchases for each listed product.

  1. Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $636.7 billion (85.5% of global total)
  2. Crude oil: $452.9 billion (51%)
  3. Phone system devices including smartphones: $289.8 billion (47.1%)
  4. Processed petroleum oils: $215.7 billion (35.2%)
  5. Gold (unwrought): $209.6 billion (59.7%)
  6. Cars: $144 billion (19%)
  7. Petroleum gases: $133.8 billion (46.9%)
  8. Computers, optical readers: $110.8 billion (32.4%)
  9. Iron ores, concentrates: $99.9 billion (87.3%)
  10. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $98.9 billion (74.3%)
  11. Diamonds (unmounted/unset): $81.7 billion (63.4%)
  12. Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $80.4 billion (69.4%)
  13. Automobile parts/accessories: $76.3 billion (19.7%)
  14. Medication mixes in dosage: $70 billion (19.6%)
  15. Machinery for making semi-conductors: $68.5 billion (83.1%)
  16. Computer parts, accessories: $58.5 billion (48.5%)
  17. Aircraft, spacecraft: $56.3 billion (38.2%)
  18. Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools: $54.4 billion (81.4%)
  19. Turbo-jets: $50.8 billion (32.8%)
  20. Soya beans: $50 billion (79.2%)
  21. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $45.8 billion (43.3%)
  22. Copper ores, concentrates: $45.7 billion (79%)
  23. Electrical converters/power units: $41.1 billion (43.4%)
  24. Refined copper, unwrought alloys: $39.3 billion (65.5%)
  25. TV/radio/radar device parts: $38 billion (56%)

The listed products accounted for almost half (48%) of Asia’s total spending on imported goods during 2018.

Fastest-growing among Asia’s major imported goods is coal-related fuels (up 56.1% from 2016 to 2017), machinery for making semi-conductors (up 39%), processed petroleum oils (up 37.9%), crude oil (up 33.8%) then imported iron (up 33.1%) and copper (up 30.7%).

Europe

Europe’s Major Imported Products

Europe is the top purchaser of medical-related imports notably drugs and medicines (51.1% of worldwide purchases) and blood fractions including antisera (58.7%).

Europe is also a global leader for imported automobile parts or accessories (46.2%) and cars (43.7%) as well as turbo-jets (43.7%), other aircraft or spacecraft (45.7%) and aircraft parts (43.4%).

Please note that the percentage of global total amount shown applies to Europe’s share of the worldwide total purchases for each listed product.

  1. Cars: $331.3 billion (43.7% of global total)
  2. Crude oil: $245.9 billion (27.7%)
  3. Processed petroleum oils: $182.7 billion (29.9%)
  4. Medication mixes in dosage: $182.5 billion (51.1%)
  5. Automobile parts/accessories: $179.2 billion (46.2%)
  6. Phone system devices including smartphones: $150.7 billion (24.5%)
  7. Gold (unwrought): $119.1 billion (33.9%)
  8. Petroleum gases: $112.6 billion (39.5%)
  9. Computers, optical readers: $109.7 billion (32.1%)
  10. Blood fractions (including antisera): $94.3 billion (58.7%)
  11. Turbo-jets: $67.6 billion (43.7%)
  12. Aircraft, spacecraft: $67.1 billion (45.6%)
  13. Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $50 billion (6.7%)
  14. Electro-medical equipment (e.g. xrays): $49.6 billion (42.9%)
  15. Trucks: $49.4 billion (36%)
  16. Insulated wire/cable: $45.8 billion (38.6%)
  17. Aircraft parts: $39.4 billion (43.4%)
  18. Heterocyclics, nucleic acids: $37.6 billion (57.1%)
  19. Printing machinery: $36.8 billion (37%)
  20. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $35.2 billion (33.3%)
  21. TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $35 billion (38.8%)
  22. Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs): $34.3 billion (43.3%)
  23. Miscellaneous furniture: $33.6 billion (41.5%)
  24. Rubber tires (new): $33.1 billion (42.8%)
  25. Miscellaneous plastic items: $32.1 billion (44.2%)

The listed products accounted for over a third (36.9%) of Europe’s total spending on imported goods during 2018.

European imports of crude oil (up 33.4%), turbo-jets (up 28.9%) and petroleum gases (up 25.8%) appreciated at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

N. America

North America’s Major Imported Products

North America places high on the scorecard for imported cars via its 29% share of the worldwide total, second only to Europe’s 43.7%. Almost one third (30.1%) of imported computers were bought by North America, while nearly one quarter (24.8%) of computer parts or accessories were imported into either the United States, Canada or Mexico.

Please note that the percentage of global total amount shown applies to North America’s share of the worldwide total purchases for each listed product.

  1. Cars: $219.7 billion (29% of global total)
  2. Crude oil: $152.1 billion (17.1%)
  3. Phone system devices including smartphones: $137 billion (22.3%)
  4. Automobile parts/accessories: $112.4 billion (29%)
  5. Computers, optical readers: $102.8 billion (30.1%)
  6. Processed petroleum oils: $85.2 billion (13.9%)
  7. Medication mixes in dosage: $74.6 billion (20.9%)
  8. Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $51.8 billion (7%)
  9. Trucks: $44.5 billion (32.4%)
  10. Blood fractions (including antisera): $31.2 billion (19.4%)
  11. Turbo-jets: $31 billion (20%)
  12. Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs): $30.5 billion (38.6%)
  13. Computer parts, accessories: $29.9 billion (24.8%)
  14. TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $29.5 billion (32.7%)
  15. Miscellaneous furniture: $28.9 billion (35.8%)
  16. Insulated wire/cable: $28.9 billion (24.4%)
  17. Electro-medical equipment (e.g. xrays): $28.5 billion (24.6%)
  18. Diamonds (unmounted/unset): $23.7 billion (18.3%)
  19. Petroleum gases: $22.3 billion (7.8%)
  20. Taps, valves, similar appliances: $21.6 billion (24.4%)
  21. Aircraft parts: $21.1 billion (23.2%)
  22. Printing machinery: $20.6 billion (20.8%)
  23. Rubber tires (new): $20.3 billion (26.3%)
  24. Electrical converters/power units: $19.8 billion (20.9%)
  25. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $18.8 billion (17.8%)

The listed products accounted for more than four-fifths (42.5%) of North America’s total spending on imported goods during 2017.

Fastest-growing from 2016 to 2017 among North America’s major imported goods are petroleum gases (up 38.5%), computer parts or accessories (up 29.8%), crude oil (up 27.8%), blood fractions (up 26.3%), refined petroleum oils (up 21.1%) then imported trucks (up 10.3%).



 
Smaller Import Markets by Continent

S. America

South America’s Major Imported Products

South America performs as a relatively large market for corn, consuming 19.4% of worldwide corn imports in 2017.

Fertilizer mixes (19.8%) and packaged insecticides, fungicides, or herbicides (14.4%) are other imports on which South America spent a considerable portion of the overall global purchases for each commodity class.

Please note that the percentage of global total amount shown applies to South America’s share of the worldwide total purchases for each listed product.

  1. Processed petroleum oils: $30.9 billion (5% of global total)
  2. Cars: $19.7 billion (2.6%)
  3. Phone system devices including smartphones: $14.9 billion (2.4%)
  4. Automobile parts/accessories: $10.7 billion (2.8%)
  5. Crude oil: $9.22 billion (1%)
  6. Trucks: $8.80 billion (6.4%)
  7. Medication mixes in dosage: $8.5 billion (2.4%)
  8. Petroleum gases: $6.9 billion (2.4%)
  9. Corn: $6.3 billion (19.4%)
  10. Air or vacuum pumps: $5.6 billion (7.8%)
  11. Computers, optical readers: $5.6 billion (1.6%)
  12. Blood fractions (including antisera): $5.5 billion (3.4%)
  13. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $5.5 billion (4.1%)
  14. Electrical converters/power units: $5.5 billion (5.8%)
  15. Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $5.3 billion (9%)
  16. Packaged insecticides/fungicides/herbicides: $5.1 billion (14.4%)
  17. Miscellaneous machinery: $5.1 billion (6.7%)
  18. Ethylene polymers: $4.7 billion (5.9%)
  19. Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $4.5 billion (0.6%)
  20. Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $4.3 billion (6.9%)
  21. Fertilizer mixes: $4.3 billion (19.8%)
  22. Liquid pumps and elevators: $4.2 billion (6.6%)
  23. Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $4.2 billion (3.6%)
  24. Electric motors, generators: $4.2 billion (7.9%)
  25. Rubber tires (new): $3.9 billion (5.1%)

The listed products accounted for over a fifth (21.7%) of South America’s total spending on imported goods during 2017.

Solar power diodes and semi-conductors were the fastest-growing among South America’s major import products via a 374.2% gain in value from 2016 to 2017. In second place were South American imports of electrical converters or power units which appreciated by 173.9% trailed by air or vacuum pumps (up 166.6%), electric motors or generators (up 157%) then imported miscellaneous machinery (up 153.4%).

Africa

Africa’s Major Imported Products

Africa is a relatively big importer of rice via its 28.5% share of the global total. Similarly, African importers purchase considerable portions of worldwide imported wheat (24.2%), concentrated/sweetened milk or cream (15.2%), palm oil (14.5%), corn (13.5%) and frozen whole fish (13.4%).

Please note that the percentage of global total amount shown applies to Africa’s share of the worldwide total purchases for each listed product.

  1. Processed petroleum oils: $45.5 billion (7.4% of global total)
  2. Cars: $16.3 billion (2.1%)
  3. Medication mixes in dosage: $11.2 billion (3.1%)
  4. Crude oil: $10.7 billion (1.2%)
  5. Wheat: $10.4 billion (24.2%)
  6. Phone system devices including smartphones: $10.2 billion (1.7%)
  7. Petroleum gases: $7 billion (2.5%)
  8. Rice: $6.7 billion (28.5%)
  9. Sugar (cane or beet): $6.5 billion (20.8%)
  10. Trucks: $6.3 billion (4.6%)
  11. Automobile parts/accessories: $5 billion (1.3%)
  12. Palm oil: $4.9 billion (14.5%)
  13. Corn: $4.4 billion (13.5%)
  14. Insulated wire/cable: $4.3 billion (3.6%)
  15. Computers, optical readers: $3.8 billion (1.1%)
  16. Rubber tires (new): $3.6 billion (4.6%)
  17. Ethylene polymers: $3.6 billion (4.5%)
  18. Cashews, coconuts, Brazil nuts $3.4 billion (7.5%)
  19. Whole fish (frozen): $3.37 billion (13.4%)
  20. Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $3.4 billion (7.9%)
  21. Light vessels, fire boats, floating docks: $3.14 billion (14.9%)
  22. Taps, valves, similar appliances: $3.13 billion (3.5%)
  23. Iron or non-alloy steel products (semi-finished): $3.04 billion (12.1%)
  24. Concentrated/sweetened milk, cream: $3.01 billion (15.2%)
  25. Hydraulic cements: $2.92 billion (24.2%)

The listed products accounted for over a third (37.7%) of Africa’s total spending on imported goods during 2017.

Fastest-growing among Africa’s major imported products is the light vessels, fire boats and floating docks category (up 317.4% from 2016 to 2017. Other African imports posting notable year-over-year gains were palm oil (up 38.7%), semi-finished iron or non-alloy steel products (up 37.2%) then imported rice (up 35.4%).

Oceania

Oceania’s Major Imported Products

Comprising Australia and New Zealand, Oceania serves as a significant market for imported light vessels, fire boats and floating docks (35.2% of overall imports by all countries) as well as the cruise/cargo ships and barges category (23.4%).

Please note that the percentage of global total amount shown applies to Oceania’s share of the worldwide total purchases for each listed product.

  1. Cars: $21.7 billion (2.9% of global total)
  2. Processed petroleum oils: $18.3 billion (3%)
  3. Cruise/cargo ships, barges: $11.1 billion (23.4%)
  4. Crude oil: $9.5 billion (1.1%)
  5. Phone system devices including smartphones: $9.3 billion (1.5%)
  6. Trucks: $8.1 billion (5.9%)
  7. Light vessels, fire boats, floating docks: $7.41 billion (35.2%)
  8. Computers, optical readers: $7.34 billion (2.1%)
  9. Medication mixes in dosage: $6.3 billion (1.7%)
  10. Gold (unwrought): $4.3 billion (1.2%)
  11. Automobile parts/accessories: $2.6 billion (0.7%)
  12. Electro-medical equipment (e.g. xrays): $2.6 billion (2.3%)
  13. Rubber tires (new): $2.33 billion (3%)
  14. Blood fractions (including antisera): $2.24 billion (1.4%)
  15. TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $2.15 billion (2.4%)
  16. Miscellaneous furniture: $1.98 billion (2.5%)
  17. Turbo-jets: $1.93 billion (1.2%)
  18. Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $1.88 billion (4.4%)
  19. Aircraft, spacecraft: $1.82 billion (1.2%)
  20. Orthopedic appliances: $1.71 billion (3%)
  21. Miscellaneous food preparations: $1.6 billion (4%)
  22. Taps, valves, similar appliances: $1.5 billion (1.7%)
  23. Machinery parts: $1.5 billion (2.6%)
  24. Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs): $1.46 billion (1.8%)
  25. Insulated wire/cable: $1.43 billion (1.2%)

The listed products accounted for close to one half (45.5%) of Oceania’s total spending on imported goods during 2017.

Fastest-growing among major imports from Oceania was the capital-intensive light vessels, fire boats and floating docks category which appreciated a 371.4% from 2016 to 2017. In second place were imports of heavy machinery including bulldozers (up 38.2%) trailed by refined petroleum oils (up 31.9%), machinery parts (up 25.2%) then imported trucks (up 21.6%).

C. America

Central America’s Major Imported Products

Central America purchases relatively modest portions of worldwide imports by commodity. For instance, Central America buys 4.8% of overall imported fabrics other than warp-knit, 3.4% of uncoated Kraft paper and 2.3% of miscellaneous food preparations.

Please note that the percentage of global total amount shown applies to Central America’s share of the worldwide total purchases for each listed product.
33.3% of Central American imported goods

  1. Processed petroleum oils: $11.5 billion (1.9% of global total)
  2. Medication mixes in dosage: $3.1 billion (0.9%)
  3. Cars: $2.4 billion (0.3%)
  4. Phone system devices including smartphones: $2.2 billion (0.4%)
  5. Trucks: $1.2 billion (0.9%)
  6. Computers, optical readers: $1 billion (0.3%)
  7. Petroleum gases: $893.8 million (0.3%)
  8. Miscellaneous food preparations: $880.6 million (2.3%)
  9. Insulated wire/cable: $799.5 million (0.7%)
  10. Plastic packing goods, lids, caps: $736.4 million (1.4%)
  11. Other than warp-knit fabrics: $723.6 million (4.8%)
  12. Corn: $701.8 million (2.1%)
  13. Packaged insecticides/fungicides/herbicides: $672.8 million (1.9%)
  14. T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet): $668 million (1.7%)
  15. Nutmeg, mace, cardamoms $621.1 million (0.7%)
  16. Automobile parts/accessories: $596.6 million (0.2%)
  17. Knit or crochet blouses, shirts $554.9 million (0.5%)
  18. Ethylene polymers: $521.2 million (0.7%)
  19. Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated): $485.9 million (1%)
  20. Miscellaneous plastic items: $484.4 million (0.7%)
  21. Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries: $478.2 million (1.4%)
  22. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $455.6 million (0.4%)
  23. Uncoated Kraft paper: $450.5 million (3.4%)
  24. Motorcycles: $450.5 million (2%)
  25. Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips: $427 million (0.7%)

The listed products accounted for one-third (33.3%) of Central America’s total spending on imported goods during 2017.

Refined petroleum oils were Central America’s fastest-growing category up by 70.7% in value from 2016 to 2017. Central American petroleum gas imports appreciated 40.6% year over year, ahead of the 32.7% gain for plated or coated flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products.

See also Major Exports by Continent, Top Continents for Exported Products and Top EU Import Countries

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on December 5, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on December 5, 2018

Wikipedia, List of countries by imports. Accessed on December 5, 2018