This survey aims to provide developing country exporters of denim jeans with product specific market information related to gaining access to the EU market(s). In this survey, EU means the EU-27 unless otherwise indicated. This survey discusses the EU in general and the following (major) markets in particular:-Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands and Belgium.


  • Total market size in the EU can be estimated at 389 million pairs of jeans, value Euros 14.0 billion in 2007, against 373 million pairs, value Euros 13.8 million in 2003.

  • The seven major EU countries covered around 80% of the total EU market. Germany is still the largest market, despite a slight fall in consumption during the period 20052007. Among, the major EU countries, growth in volume was stronger than growth in value."

  • Italy is still the leader in jeans manufacturing in the EU but production migrated to Eastern Europe and North Africa to take advantage of the lower labour costs. Other EU countries which have a significant jeans industry are Spain, Portugal and Romania.

  • The EU imported 554 million pair of jeans at a value of Euros 5.4 billion in 2007, indicating an average import price of Euros 9.81 per unit. The average import price fell by 5% in the period 2003-2007, caused by factors like intensified price competition among suppliers and a cheaper US dollar.

  • Turkey remained the leading EU supplier in 2007. Exports by Turkey to the EU increased 12% in 2007 compared to the previous year. Imports from second supplier China were 70% higher in 2007 than in the previous year, while Italian exports to other EU countries decreased by 12% during the same period.

  • Supplying countries from outside the EU recording fastest growths in 2007 compared to 2006 were India, Egypt, Mauritius and Albania.

  • A strongly increasing share of jeans imports into the EU came from developing countries (DCs), namely 37% in 2003 and 47% in 2007, mostly to the detriment of imports from countries Outside the EU other than DCs.

  • Selling to importing wholesalers generally offers the most advantages for starting and/ or SME exporters. However, it should be noted that several other potential opportunities should be open to an exporter.

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Originally published in New cloth Market: February 2010