That dollar amount specific to consumer-targeted exports represents 43.5% of the overall value of all US exported goods ($2.063 trillion) during 2022. That percentage exceeds the 41.9% for America’s consumer products exported one year earlier in 2021.
The 5 most valuable consumer end-use goods shipped by the United States onto global markets during 2022 were exported refined petroleum oils, petroleum gases, cars, automobile parts or accessories, and gold. Combined, those 5 leading exports amount to 14% of America’s total revenues collected from selling its exports on international markets.
The total dollar amount for America’s top 100 exported consumer products accelerated by 40.6% from 2021 to 2022 and rose by 51.5% since 2018.
America’s overall shipments of all its exported products–encompassing raw materials, intermediate products as well as those classified as consumer goods–grew at a much slower pace. Total US exports increased in value by 17.6% in 2022 compared to 2021 and by 23.8% over the 5-year period starting in 2018.
Among the top 100 consumer products exported by the United States, 87 generated more revenues in 2022 compared to 2021. The fastest cashflow increases belong to US exports of nitrogenous fertilizers (up 272.7%), coal including solid fuels made from coal (up 77%), potassic fertilizers (up 66.2%), processed petroleum oils (up 59%), fertilizer mixes (up 52.6%), then coffee (up 45.4%).
Thirteen top US consumer exports declined year over year. The severest decliners were US export sales of silver (down -36.7%), rice (down -11.6%), pork (down -8.6%), fresh or chilled beef (down -6.8%), medication mixes excluding those in dosage (down -6.4%), then printed books or brochures (down -5.1%).
Exported Consumer Products Defined
So, what are consumer products? They are final goods or end products that a business mainly creates for consumers to buy. For example, consumers often purchase refined petroleum oil at the gas station while exported crude oil is an intermediate good subject to further processing before being sold to end users.
Although there may be a few wealthy individual buyers, products like turbojets are excluded from the consumer products targeted by this study. That is because turbojets are usually purchased by corporations. In contrast, it is common for consumers to buy motorcycles.
Admittedly there are some grey areas. For example, business and government entities buy exported gold in addition to consumers. On the other hand, generally fewer consumers buy platinum exports.
Types of Consumer Products
This article focuses on 3 distinct consumer product types for the exports reviewed in the article.
Convenience Products are easy to access, non-durable, have relatively lower prices and therefore consumers frequently purchase them. Examples of convenience products are food, alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, and soap.
Shopping Products are not as easily available as convenience products, involve more time to make a buying decision, are durable and are not bought as often as most convenience products. A great example of a shopping product is a mobile phone where buying the wrong model is a much more expensive mistake than buying a stale loaf of bread.
Specialty Products describe another consumer product type. This grey area includes infrequently purchased, expensive, durable and sometimes rare items. Consumers may consider the product’s brand image when making their purchase decisions. Some examples of speciality products are gold, silver, diamonds, jewelry, and branded refrigerators and dishwashers.
US Top 100 Most Valuable Consumer Exports
The searchable international sales database below showcases America’s 100 highest value exported consumer products in descending order. Items were selected at the four-digit Harmonized System tariff classification code level.
The table’s fifth column identifies each entry’s consumer product type.
The most popular product type is shopping products (SP) led by cars, automobile parts or accessories, phone devices including smartphones, computers, and trucks. Shopping products represent almost four-fifths (39) of America’s top 100 exported consumer goods.
In second place via 36 entries are convenience products (CP) led by refined petroleum oils, petroleum gas, medications, then America’s agricultural food exports soya beans and corn.
Then there is the speciality products (SY) category with 25 entries. Examples of major speciality products are American exports of gold, diamonds, liquid pumps, jewelry, hand-drawn paintings and drawings, and beauty makeup or skin care goods.
|1||Processed petroleum oils||$135,405,081,000||+59%||CP|
|8||Phone devices including smartphones||$33,387,953,000||+5.1%||SP|
|9||Computers, optical readers||$28,562,164,000||+6.1%||SP|
|13||Coal, solid fuels made from coal||$17,263,148,000||+77%||CP|
|14||Computer parts, accessories||$17,152,290,000||+6.6%||SP|
|15||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$12,081,295,000||+14.8%||SP|
|19||Miscellaneous plastic items||$8,624,388,000||+10.3%||CP|
|21||Unrecorded sound media||$8,250,743,000||+12%||SP|
|22||Hand-drawn paintings, drawings||$8,194,412,000||+29.2%||SY|
|24||Electrical converters/power units||$7,180,959,000||+16.1%||SP|
|25||Miscellaneous food preparations||$6,828,284,000||-4.5%||CP|
|26||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$6,646,453,000||+11.9%||CP|
|31||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$5,654,059,000||+10.4%||SP|
|33||Packaged insecticides, herbicides||$5,415,147,000||+13.7%||SP|
|35||Rubber tires (new)||$4,946,815,000||+10.4%||SP|
|36||Screws, bolts, washers, hooks, pins||$4,765,067,000||+15.2%||SP|
|38||Electric motors, not generating sets||$4,561,219,000||-2%||SY|
|39||Fresh or chilled beef||$4,380,539,000||-6.8%||CP|
|41||Electric storage batteries||$4,138,184,000||+16.9%||SY|
|43||Other organic cleaning preparations||$3,993,759,000||+7.9%||CP|
|44||Seats (not barber/dentist chairs)||$3,659,878,000||+13.6%||SP|
|45||Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools||$3,447,355,000||+5.7%||SY|
|47||Household base metal mountings||$3,220,258,000||+14.5%||SY|
|48||Vulcanized rubber items||$3,175,994,000||+16.5%||SP|
|49||Video console games, table games||$3,045,121,000||+18.3%||SP|
|54||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$2,469,352,000||+12.5%||CP|
|55||Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)||$2,449,461,000||+32.3%||CP|
|56||Paper containers, cellulose wadding||$2,409,528,000||+6.6%||SP|
|57||Other pharmaceutical goods||$2,403,651,000||+23.2%||SP|
|60||Precious/semi-precious stones (unstrung)||$2,286,164,000||+41.6%||SY|
|61||Items made with precious metals||$2,238,974,000||+26.3%||SY|
|62||Special hand/machine tools||$2,187,605,000||+6.1%||SY|
|64||Yachts, canoes, row boats||$2,098,591,000||+16.6%||SP|
|65||Sauces, condiments, seasoning||$2,094,461,000||+8.2%||CP|
|66||Whole fish (frozen)||$2,018,767,000||+17.4%||CP|
|68||Printed books, brochures||$1,996,496,000||-5.1%||SP|
|69||Hot-rolled iron/non-alloy steel items||$1,994,426,000||+15.9%||SP|
|70||Red meat offal||$1,983,292,000||+7.5%||CP|
|71||Electric generating sets, converters||$1,966,206,000||+23.7%||SY|
|72||Miscellaneous preserved fruits||$1,914,345,000||+7.6%||CP|
|73||Fuel wood, wood chips, sawdust||$1,869,995,000||+43.1%||CP|
|75||Prepared glues, adhesives||$1,829,763,000||+6%||SP|
|77||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$1,781,516,000||+4.2%||SY|
|79||Chocolate, other cocoa preparations||$1,735,085,000||+3%||CP|
|81||Original sculptures, statues||$1,701,018,000||+30.7%||SY|
|83||Perfumes, toilet waters||$1,593,832,000||+11.1%||CP|
|84||Other printed pictures, photos||$1,586,951,000||+11.4%||SY|
|87||Miscellaneous fruits (fresh)||$1,420,600,000||+1.6%||CP|
|88||Miscellaneous aluminum items||$1,420,141,000||+19.2%||SP|
|89||Prepared vegetables (frozen)||$1,414,547,000||+11.9%||CP|
|90||Other meats (prepared/preserved)||$1,399,385,000||+12.1%||CP|
|92||Waters with added sugar||$1,349,049,000||-4.6%||CP|
|93||Medication mixes not in dosage||$1,348,074,000||-6.4%||CP|
|94||Dishwash, clean/dry/fill machines||$1,328,765,000||+3.1%||SY|
|95||Fish fillets, pieces||$1,290,630,000||+1.2%||CP|
|96||Cases, handbags, wallets||$1,282,610,000||+15.6%||SP|
|97||Malt extract, food preparations||$1,246,023,000||+11.7%||CP|
|99||Shaving preparations, deodorants||$1,190,004,000||-0.2%||SP|
|100||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$1,186,232,000||+33.3%||SP|
Durable consumer products (D) are goods like cars, refrigerators and furniture that last a relatively long time. Consumers can put durable products to use again and again.
Non-durable consumer products (ND) are goods that are not re-used once consumed. Alcoholic beverages and bananas are examples of non-durable goods.
Based on the product types identified in the above table, 64 of America’s highest-value consumer exported products are durable while 36 are classified as non-durable.
You can also peruse the greatest increases or decreases in product values from 2021 to 2022. To do so, click on the heading of the fourth column.
Fastest-Growing US Consumer Exports
Listed below are the top 10 consumer products shipped by the United States that benefited from the highest percentage increases in global sales from 2021 to 2022.
- Nitrogenous fertilizers: Up 272.7% (US$2.1 billion)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: Up 77% ($17.3 billion)
- Potassic fertilizers: Up 66.2% ($2 billion)
- Processed petroleum oils: Up 59% ($135.4 billion)
- Fertilizer mixes: Up 52.6% ($4.3 billion)
- Coffee: Up 45.4% ($1.2 billion)
- Fuel wood, wood chips, sawdust: Up 43.1% ($1.9 billion)
- Petroleum gas: Up 41.7% ($96.3 billion)
- Unstrung precious/semi-precious stones: Up 41.6% ($2.3 billion)
- Gold (unwrought): Up 33.7% ($37.2 billion)
Half of the above items are non-durable goods that consumers use or consumer one time. These are coal, processed petroleum oils, coffee, fuel wood and sawdust, and petroleum gas.
In contrast, the other 5 products are considered specialty products.
Severest-Declining US Consumer Exports
Among the top 100 US exports, America’s spending on the following 10 items resulted in the strongest declines from 2021 to 2022.
- Silver (unwrought): Down -36.7% (US$1.8 billion)
- Rice: Down -11.6% ($1.7 billion)
- Pork: Down -8.6% ($5.4 billion)
- Fresh or chilled beef: Down -6.8% ($4.4 billion)
- Medication mixes not in dosage: Down -6.4% ($1.4 billion)
- Printed books, brochures: Down -5.1% ($2 billion)
- Waters with added sugar: Down -4.6% ($1.35 billion)
- Miscellaneous food preparations: Down -4.5% ($6.8 billion)
- Electric motors, not generating sets: Down -2% ($4.6 billion)
- Miscellaneous toys: Down -1% ($1.35 billion)
Silver and electric motors excluding generating sets are speciality products, while printed books or brochures and miscellaneous toys are from the shopping products category. The remaining US export goods making the list of year-over-year losers are consumer products used one time only.
Key Customers for US Exports by Country
This analysis reveals competitive buyers that provide major demand for America’s top 5 consumer export products.
The biggest US exported consumer product by value are refined petroleum oils. America’s 4 other leading consumer exports are petroleum gases, cars, automotive parts or accessories, and gold.
Here are the main international customers for
America’s exported refined petroleum oils: Mexico (29.3% of total), Canada (11.7%), Brazil (8.1%), Chile (7.2%), Panama (4.5%), Peru (4.4%), Colombia (3.8%), Guatemala (2.8%), Ecuador (2.6%), and Argentina (2.4%).
America’s exported petroleum gases: Mexico (15.8% of total), Japan (10%), France (8.4%), United Kingdom (6.7%), Netherlands (6.2%), South Korea (also 6.2%), Spain (6.1%), Canada (4.5%), mainland China (4.2%), and Türkiye (2.8%).
America’s exported cars: Canada (28.7% of total), Germany (13.2%), mainland China (9.5%), South Korea (6.6%), Mexico (5.9%), United Arab Emirates (5.1%), Saudi Arabia (3%), Belgium (2.8%), Australia (2.1%), and Georgia (1.6%).
America’s exported automotive parts or accessories: Mexico (41.5% of total), Canada (31.3%), mainland China (3.8%), Germany (2.1%), Brazil (1.9%), Australia (1.7%), Spain (1.3%), Thailand (also 1.3%), South Africa (1.2%), and Japan (1.1%).
America’s exported gold: Switzerland (54.6% of total), United Kingdom (19.3%), Singapore (6.4%), India (5%), Canada (4.7%), Hong Kong (3.1%), Australia (2.6%), Türkiye (0.9%), United Arab Emirates (also 0.9%), and Italy (0.6%).
Based on the above lists, Mexico appears to be America’s number one customer given that it is the leading international purchaser for 3 of the 5 most valuable consumer products exported from the United States of America.
See also United States Top 10 Imports, United States Top 10 Exports, Top United States Trade Balances and America’s Top 20 Export States and United States Top 10 Major Export Companies
Independent insights and analysis presented in this article were based on researched facts and statistics sourced from the following educational portals.
BoyceWire, Consumer Goods Definition. Accessed on April 12, 2023
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: United States Economy. Accessed on April 12, 2023
Imported Consumer Products, United States Top 100 Imported Consumer Products. Accessed on April 12, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 12, 2023
Investopedia, Consumer Goods, Consumer Staples Definition, Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG). Accessed on April 12, 2023
Trading Economics, United States Consumer Spending. Accessed on April 12, 2023
Wikipedia, List of largest consumer markets. Accessed on April 12, 2023