455m pairs of jeans were imported into the EU last year

455m pairs of jeans were imported into the EU last year

European jeans imports by volume were down for the first time in a decade last year, falling 7.3% on 2011 to 455m pairs.

According to a report published by French trade body CEDITH, based on data from the European Commission's statistics service Eurostat, this compares with annual growth of 8% between 2001 and 2011 - the latter being a record year for jean imports.

"Weighed down by the economic crisis, 2012 brought growth to a brutal stop," says CEDITH president Jean-François Limantour, "but the decline in value sales was limited to 2.6% (to EUR3.5bn) due to the strong increase in average unit prices."

Last year, the average price of jeans imported into the EU was EUR7.78, up 5.4% on 2011 when prices rose by 6.6% due to hikes in the price of cotton.

"The relative stability in cotton prices over the past few months and the continuing economic crisis should contribute to keeping jean prices within reasonable limits in 2013," he added.

China, Tunisia and Turkey accounted for two-thirds of the jeans imported into the EU by value and almost three-quarters (71%) by volume.