Overall, the cost of knitted or crocheted T-shirts imported in 2019 totaled US$41.7 billion. That dollar amount reflects a 15.9% increase for all importing countries since 2015 when international purchases of T-shirts cost $36 billion. Year over year, worldwide T-shirt imports fell by -0.3% from 2018 to 2019.
From a continental perspective, buyers in Europe purchased the highest dollar worth of imported T-shirts costing at $22.5 billion or 54% of the global total for 2019. In second place were Asian importers at 20.7% while 19% of T-shirts imported worldwide was delivered to customers in North America. Smaller percentages went to Latin America (2.5%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, Oceania (2.1%) led by Austria and New Zealand, then Africa (1.6%).
Cotton is the dominant material for T-shirt manufacturing. Cotton T-shirts accounted for $28.7 billion in worldwide purchases or over two-thirds (68.7%) of all T-shirts imported during 2019. Similar apparel made from textiles other than cotton equaled $13.1 billion for the remaining 31.3%.
For research purposes, the 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix for knitted or crocheted T-shirt is 6109. Drilling down, cotton T-shirts fall under 610910 while T-shirts made from other materials are categorized as 610990.
T-shirt Imports by Country
Below are the 15 countries that imported the highest dollar value worth of knitted or crocheted T-shirts (regardless of source materials) during 2019.
- United States: US$6.6 billion (15.8% of total imported T-shirts)
- Germany: $4.1 billion (9.8%)
- United Kingdom: $2.7 billion (6.4%)
- Japan: $2.43 billion (5.8%)
- France: $2.4 billion (5.7%)
- Spain: $2 billion (4.9%)
- Netherlands: $1.9 billion (4.6%)
- Italy: $1.8 billion (4.2%)
- Belgium: $1.3 billion (3%)
- Hong Kong: $962.3 million (2.3%)
- China: $955.3 million (2.3%)
- South Korea: $935.9 million (2.2%)
- Poland: $845.7 million (2%)
- Canada: $768 million (1.8%)
- Austria: $759.8 million (1.8%)
Among the above countries, the fastest-growing markets for T-shirts since 2015 were: China (up 57.9%), South Korea (up 50.4%), Poland (up 44.8%) and Austria (up 28.3%).
Two countries posted declines in their imported T-shirts purchases: Hong Kong (down -5.2%) and the United Kingdom (down -0.4%).
By value, the listed 15 countries purchased 72.9% of all T-shirts imported in 2019.
T-shirt Imports by Country: Cotton
Below are the 15 countries that imported the highest dollar value worth of cotton T-shirts during 2019.
Among the above countries, the fastest-growing markets for cotton T-shirts since 2015 were: Poland (up 73.3%), China (up 71.6%), Italy (up 43.6%) and South Korea (up 43.1%).
Hong Kong was the sole major buyer to post a decline in its imported cotton T-shirts thanks to a -3.2% retreat.
By value, the listed 15 countries purchased 73% of all cotton T-shirts imported in 2019.
T-shirt Imports by Country: Non-Cotton Textiles
Below are the 15 countries that, during 2019, imported the highest dollar value worth of T-shirts made from textile materials other than cotton.
- United States: US$2 billion (15.5% of imported non-cotton T-shirts)
- Germany: $1.4 billion (10.4%)
- Japan: $1.1 billion (8.2%)
- United Kingdom: $793.7 million (6.1%)
- France: $792.5 million (6.1%)
- Spain: $632 million (4.8%)
- Netherlands: $516.7 million (4%)
- Belgium: $405.6 million (3.1%)
- Italy: $387.3 million (3%)
- South Korea: $385.7 million (3%)
- Canada: $249.6 million (1.9%)
- China: $235.8 million (1.8%)
- Austria: $226.7 million (1.7%)
- United Arab Emirates: $213.3 million (1.6%)
- Poland: $206.9 million (1.6%)
Among the above countries, the fastest-growing markets for non-cotton T-shirts since 2015 were: South Korea (up 62.1%), United Arab Emirates (up 56.1%), China (up 27%) and Netherlands (up 12.8%).
Those countries that posted declines in their imported non-cotton T-shirts purchases were led by: United Kingdom (down -19.2%), Germany (down -8.9%), France (down -7.7%) and Spain (down -7.6%).
By value, the listed 15 countries purchased 72.7% of all non-cotton T-shirts imported in 2019.
T-shirt Exporting Companies
According to global trading platform Alibaba, the following B2B (business-to-business) companies are examples of international T-shirt suppliers.
- B2B Print SIA (Latvia)
- CIAO Develop Co, Ltd (Taiwan)
- Dongguan Qinghuo Apparel Co, Ltd (China)
- Fashion Mag Trade (Italy)
- Guangzhou Mingmen Garments (China)
- Iniz Solutions (India)
- MONA Trading B2B (Poland)
- OITA Sports Industries (Pakistan)
- Push Top Service & Trading Co Ltd (Vietnam)
- Xiangshan Eco-Friendly Knitting Co (China)
The home-country location for each business is shown within parentheses.
See also T-shirt Exports by Country, Top Exported Hats by Country and Top Exported Baby Clothing Sales
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Field Listing: Imports – Commodities. Accessed on May 23, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on May 23, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 23, 2020