US imports represent 12.3% of total global imports.
From a continental perspective, 45.6% of America’s total imports by value in 2015 were purchased from Asian countries.
North American trade partners supplied 26% of import sales to the US while 21.3% worth originated from Europe.
Given America’s population of 318.9 million people, its total $2.309 trillion in 2015 imports translates to roughly $7,240 in yearly product demand from every person in the country.
United States Top 10 Imports
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in America’s import purchases during 2015. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into the US.
- Electronic equipment: US$332.9 billion (14.4% of total US imports)
- Machines, engines, pumps: $329.3 billion (14.3%)
- Vehicles: $283.8 billion (12.3%)
- Oil: $201.2 billion (8.7%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $86.1 billion (3.7%)
- Medical, technical equipment: $78.3 billion (3.4%)
- Furniture, lighting, signs: $61.2 billion (2.6%)
- Gems, precious metals: $60.2 billion (2.6%)
- Organic chemicals: $52.1 billion (2.3%)
- Plastics: $50.2 billion (2.2%)
Imported furniture, lighting and signs had the fastest-growing increase in value among the top 10 import categories, up 53.7% for the 5-year period starting in 2011.
In second place for improving import sales were imported vehicles, up 40%. American imports of pharmaceuticals delivered the third-fastest gain at 30.9%.
Oil was the laggard among the top 10 American imports, posting a -55.7% decline in value.
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.
In 2015, American importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electronic equipment:
- Phone system devices: US$102.4 billion (up 33.5%)
- Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $28.8 billion (up 5%)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $26.9 billion (down -13.7%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $19.9 billion (up 38.4%)
- Electrical converters/power units: $14.5 billion (up 18.5%)
- Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $11.6 billion (up 13.1%)
- TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras: $10.6 billion (down -4.7%)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $10.2 billion (up 18.5%)
- Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $10.1 billion (up 54.7%)
- Electric motors, generators: $9.2 billion (up 28.8%)
Among US imported electronics, American purchases of electrical/optical circuit boards and panels (up 54.7%), insulated wire or cable (up 38.4%) and phone system devices including smartphones (up 33.5%) grew at the fastest pace from 2011 to 2015.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported fossil fuel among US businesses and consumers.
In 2015, American importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery:
- Computers, optical readers: US$81.4 billion (up 2.2%)
- Turbo-jets: $22.2 billion (up 31.9%)
- Printing machinery: $18.3 billion (down -6.4%)
- Computer parts, accessories: $17.7 billion (up 7.6%)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: $15.2 billion (up 29.1%)
- Piston engines: $11.3 billion (up 17.6%)
- Liquid pumps and elevators: $10.7 billion (up 19.7%)
- Air or vacuum pumps: $10.4 billion (up 26.7%)
- Piston engine parts: $10.2 billion (up 16.2%)
- Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $8.8 billion (up 21.5%)
Among US machinery purchases, American imports of turbo-jets (up 31.9%), taps, valves and similar appliances (up 29.1%) and air or vacuum pumps (up 26.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2011 to 2015.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery among US businesses and consumers.
In 2015, American importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles:
- Cars: US$169.1 billion (up 37.3%)
- Automobile parts/accessories: $66.5 billion (up 36.2%)
- Trucks: $23.5 billion (up 74.7%)
- Tractors: $12.1 billion (up 73.3%)
- Trailers: $3.3 billion (up 68.2%)
- Motorcycles: $2.2 billion (up 19%)
- Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $1.7 billion (up 28.6%)
- Motorcycle parts/accessories: $1.5 billion (up 12.9%)
- Automobile bodies: $984.4 million (up 29.6%)
- Public-transport vehicles: $859.5 million (up 36.9%)
Among US vehicle imports, American purchases of trucks (up 74.7%), tractors (up 73.3%), trailers (up 68.2%) and cars (up 37.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2011 to 2014.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported vehicles among US businesses and consumers.
In 2015, American importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of fuel:
- Crude oil: US$132.6 billion (down -60.6%)
- Processed petroleum oils: $51.4 billion (down -44.3%)
- Petroleum gases: $11.1 billion (down -38%)
- Electrical energy: $2.4 billion (up 19%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $1 billion (down -18.9%)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $872.4 million (down -34.8%)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $535.6 million (down -45.2%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $496.7 million (down -2.4%)
- Peat: $332.7 million (up 46.1%)
- Natural bitumen, asphalt, shale: $238 million (up 152.3%)
Among US fuel imports, American purchases of natural bitumen, asphalt and shale (up 152.3%), peat (up 46.1%) and electrical energy (up 19%) were the only product subcategories to increase from 2011 to 2015.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported energy supplies among US businesses and consumers.
See also International Sales Opportunities for Exports to America, America’s Top Import Partners, Fastest-Growing American Import Products and Highest Value US Import Products
The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed February 9, 2016
Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on February 9, 2016