Natural human hair is also a valued commodity in international trade, processed by businesses into hair extensions and wigs.
Globally, international sales of exported human hair (excluding hair extensions and wigs) totaled US$78.8 million in 2020. That dollar amount reflects a -9% decline from $86.5 million in hair exports during 2016 but a 19.8% increase from 2019 to 2020.
The biggest 3 exporters of human hair (Hong Kong, India, Myanmar) were responsible for 86.6% of global exports for the commodity in 2020.
Among continents, Asia sold the highest dollar worth of exported human hair during 2020 with shipments valued at $74.9 million or 95.2% of the worldwide total. A distant second were exporters in Europe at 2.9%.
Even tinier percentages came from sellers in Latin America (1.2%), Australia (0.28%) on the Oceania continent, North America (0.26%), and Africa (0.15%).
For research purposes, the 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix is 0501 for human hair. The formal prefix code label for 0501 is unworked human hair whether or not washed or scoured and the waste of human hair.
Top Human Hair Exporters by Country
Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of human hair during 2020.
- Hong Kong: US$44.4 million (56.4% of total human hair exports)
- India: $14.3 million (18.1%)
- Myanmar: $9.5 million (12%)
- Pakistan: $2.3 million (3%)
- United Kingdom: $1.5 million (1.9%)
- Indonesia: $1.1 million (1.4%)
- Afghanistan: $893,000 (1.1%)
- Brazil: $773,000 (1%)
- Bangladesh: $578,000 (0.7%)
- Japan: $426,000 (0.5%)
- Thailand: $384,000 (0.5%)
- China: $275,000 (0.3%)
- Uzbekistan: $244,000 (0.3%)
- Australia: $219,000 (0.3%)
- United States: $206,000 (0.3%)
By value, the listed 15 countries shipped 97.9% of all human hair exported in 2020.
Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing human hair exporters from 2019 to 2020 were: Australia (up 1,891%), Hong Kong (up 47.1%), Pakistan (up 39.4%) and China (up 22.8%).
Those countries that posted declines in their exported human hair sales were led by: United States (down -78.2%), United Kingdom (down -35.8%), Thailand (down -23.0%), India (down -10.4%) and Japan (down -4.5%).
The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for human hair during 2020. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the surplus between the value of each country’s exported human hair and its import purchases for that same commodity.
- India: US$14.2 million (net export surplus down -9.1% since 2019)
- Hong Kong: $9.6 million (down -23.3%)
- Pakistan: $2.3 million (up 39.4%)
- United Kingdom: $984,000 (down -36.5%)
- Afghanistan: $892,000 (no 2019 data)
- Brazil: $732,000 (up 1642.9%)
- Bangladesh: $420,000 (down -18.6%)
- Thailand: $384,000 (down -23.0%)
- Japan: $380,000 (down -7.8%)
- China: $275,000 (up 22.8%)
- Uzbekistan: $223,000 (down -7.1%)
- Australia: $195,000 (reversing a -$16,000 deficit)
- Guatemala: $161,000 (no 2019 data)
- Ukraine: $125,000 (no 2019 data)
- Ireland: $112,000 (no 2019 data)
India earned the highest surplus in the international trade of human hair. In turn, this positive cashflow confirms India’s strong competitive advantage for this specific product category.
The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for human hair during 2020. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s imported human hair purchases and its exports for that same commodity.
- Indonesia: -US$57.4 million (net export deficit up 38.1% since 2019)
- Austria: -$14.1 million (down -11.3%)
- Myanmar: -$6.9 million (up 17.1%)
- Italy: -$3.8 million (down -46.9%)
- Sweden: -$3 million (up 9.9%)
- France: -$2.3 million (up 4,300%)
- Vietnam: -$2.1 million (down -40%)
- Israel: -$791,000 (down -65.5%)
- United States: -$769,000 (reversing a $253,000 surplus)
- Germany: -$485,000 (up 45.6%)
- Laos: -$384,000 (down -52.4%)
- Netherlands: -$309,000 (up 86.1%)
- Slovakia: -$156,000 (down -3.7%)
- Nigeria: -$149,000 (up 55.2%)
- South Korea: -$127,000 (down -41.5%)
Indonesia incurred the highest deficit in the international trade of human hair. In turn, this negative cashflow highlights Indonesia’s competitive disadvantage for this specific product category but also signals opportunities for human hair-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful consumer demand.
Human Hair Exporting Companies
According to global trading platform Alibaba, the following suppliers are examples of human hair exporters. The home-country location for each business is shown within parentheses.
- B & K Import & Export (United States)
- Business-Salon Group Ltd (Ukraine)
- Evergreen Products Factory Ltd (Hong Kong)
- GRV Exports (India)
- Rawhair Import Export Company (Vietnam)
- UNICS Co, Ltd (Japan)
- Waheed Universal Hair Company (Pakistan)
- Widya International (Indonesia)
See also Top Exporters of Wigs, Beards and Eyelashes, Beauty Cosmetics and Skincare Exports by Country and Perfumes Exporters by Country
Alibaba, Supplier showroom for human hair. Accessed on June 8, 2021
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Field Listing: Exports – Commodities. Accessed on June 8, 2021
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 8, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 8, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 8, 2021
Wikipedia, Hair theft. Accessed on June 8, 2021