Most Valuable Global Markets for Selling Silver Imports

Silver is a proven precious metal with a long history spanning 6,000 years during which silver coins and even raw silver have been used as currency. Nicknamed “poor man’s gold” due to its comparatively more affordable price, silver remains a commodity in strong demand around the globe particularly during times of economic distress.

Imports of silver were worth US$22.5 billion in 2020.

That dollar amount reflects a 24% increase from $18.1 billion in 2016. From 2019 to 2020, imported silver in its raw or semi-manufactured form spiked by 38.4%.

The 5 top global markets for selling imported silver totaled well over three-fifths (61.8%) of total silver metal imported worldwide in 2020. The strongest cashflows pursuing silver imports were from: the United States (26.3% of overall total), United Kingdom (12.2%), Canada (11.8%), China (6.1%) and Japan (5.5%).

Among these 5 key markets for the shiny precious metal, the sharpest year-over-year upswings in demand were posted by importers in Canada (up 357.9%) and the United States (up 83.7%).

By comparing changes in consumer demand for imported silver by buyer country showcased in this article, researchers can uncover the most compelling opportunities for selling silver on international markets.

Silver Is A Consumer Speciality Product

Silver satisfies the criteria of a consumer good (also called an end product) that allows consumers to buy in its final form as a store of value. In contrast, products like turbojets are usually purchased by companies or government entities rather than individuals.

Economists classify silver as a speciality product, a technical classification for goods that are not as easily accessible as shopping products purchased from a local convenience stores or grocery shops.

Silver is also defined as a speciality product because it is durable. Silver bars can last virtually forever when properly stored since there is negligible wear and tear. Another speciality attribute is that purchasing silver typically requires more time before the consumer makes a buying decision many times based on price. Plus, as a commodity silver is not bought as often as less expensive items such as food or beverages.

Silver Jewelry

In addition, consumers bought $6.5 billion worth of imported jewelry made with silver.

Unlike silver imported as a precious metal, imports of silver jewelry slipped in value by -29% over the 5-year period starting in 2016. Over the latest 1-year period, the value of imported silver jewelry fell -4.3%.

The 5 biggest import markets for silver jewelry in 2020 were the United States, Hong Kong, Germany, United Kingdom and France. Collectively, demand from those 5 countries purchased 61% of the overall value of imported silver jewelry.

The most popular forms of silver jewelry are rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets.

Silver jewelry is durable but still depends on careful maintenance.

Depending on metal purity and how often they are worn, most silver rings made from sterling silver last an average 20 to 30 years.

Searchable Tables: Imported Silver by Country

The sortable table below showcases marketing intelligence for the top 100 buyers of silver in its precious metal form, ranked in descending order starting with the greatest annual sales amount at the 4-digit Harmonized System (HS) code level. For precious metal silver, the HS code prefix is 7106.

Also shown is the percentage of the world’s total purchases of imported silver in 2020, as well as the change in international sales from 2019 to 2020.

RankImporterUS$%Total2019-20
1United States$5,905,574,00026.3%+83.7%
2United Kingdom$2,737,081,00012.2%+33.1%
3Canada$2,645,947,00011.8%+357.9%
4China$1,366,535,0006.1%+28.1%
5Japan$1,246,235,0005.5%+34.5%
6Hong Kong$1,243,416,0005.5%+19.1%
7India$1,196,950,0005.3%-59.3%
8Germany$809,865,0003.6%+29.1%
9Australia$665,723,0003%+391.6%
10Switzerland$641,173,0002.9%+49.8%
11Thailand$524,353,0002.3%-4.9%
12Taiwan$524,259,0002.3%+54.8%
13Turkey$459,946,0002%+140.9%
14Italy$442,866,0002%+6.8%
15Singapore$387,745,0001.7%+29%
16France$326,662,0001.5%+16.9%
17Austria$194,784,0000.9%+101.5%
18South Korea$148,716,0000.7%+38.7%
19Spain$99,782,0000.4%+82.7%
20Czech Republic$86,001,0000.4%+44.7%
21Mexico$82,265,0000.4%-11%
22Malaysia$74,958,0000.3%+69.3%
23United Arab Emirates$69,615,0000.3%+34.2%
24Belgium$59,963,0000.3%-15.8%
25Netherlands$58,210,0000.3%+30%
26Brazil$51,122,0000.2%-26%
27New Zealand$38,477,0000.2%+149.5%
28Israel$37,624,0000.2%-0.3%
29Vietnam$29,393,0000.1%+13.6%
30Poland$26,595,0000.1%+32.7%
31Nepal$26,171,0000.1%-79.1%
32Indonesia$25,961,0000.1%-3%
33Hungary$24,867,0000.1%+26.1%
34Sweden$23,413,0000.1%+28.1%
35Uzbekistan$20,214,0000.1%0%
36Saudi Arabia$16,873,0000.1%+166.5%
37Russia$15,678,0000.1%+28.3%
38Slovakia$13,114,0000.1%+112.1%
39Greece$11,433,0000.1%-29.1%
40Denmark$10,825,0000.05%-15%
41South Africa$9,937,0000.04%+91.4%
42Norway$9,878,0000.04%+12.1%
43Egypt$9,609,0000.04%+3.2%
44Finland$9,544,0000.04%+16%
45Slovenia$8,188,0000.04%+29.9%
46Portugal$6,042,0000.03%-29.2%
47Bulgaria$5,674,0000.03%+254.4%
48Philippines$5,590,0000.02%+22.5%
49Cayman Islands$4,691,0000.02%+361.3%
50Argentina$4,655,0000.02%+205.8%
51Chile$4,514,0000.02%-72%
52Lithuania$3,722,0000.02%+40.9%
53Belarus$3,273,0000.01%0%
54Colombia$2,961,0000.01%-27.5%
55Jordan$2,502,0000.01%-26.9%
56Estonia$2,431,0000.01%+36.9%
57Algeria$2,409,0000.01%+50.8%
58Tunisia$2,244,0000.01%-22.5%
59Ukraine$2,235,0000.01%-43.3%
60Costa Rica$2,214,0000.01%-8.1%
61Serbia$2,056,0000.01%+59.9%
62Ireland$1,726,0000.01%+13.2%
63North Macedonia$1,467,0000.01%-1.5%
64Morocco$1,324,0000.01%+26.6%
65Croatia$1,261,0000.01%+9.5%
66Mongolia$1,088,0000.005%+18033.3%
67Luxembourg$1,077,0000.005%-0.7%
68Lebanon$1,038,0000.005%+67.4%
69Albania$965,0000.004%-15.1%
70Mauritius$914,0000.004%-39.5%
71Panama$839,0000.004%+106.1%
72Bosnia/Herzegovina$816,0000.004%+68.9%
73Kazakhstan$775,0000.003%+556.8%
74Dominican Republic$760,0000.003%-92.1%
75Sri Lanka$674,0000.003%-56.7%
76Ethiopia$567,0000.003%+8000%
77Mali$545,0000.002%0%
78Macao$502,0000.002%+25000%
79Ecuador$414,0000.002%+15.3%
80Namibia$352,0000.002%+935.3%
81Bahrain$297,0000.001%-77.4%
82Armenia$291,0000.001%-60%
83Bhutan$271,0000.001%+1594%
84Uruguay$241,0000.001%-3.6%
85Guatemala$232,0000.001%+52.6%
86Iraq$168,0000.001%-75.3%
87Qatar$166,0000.001%+50.9%
88Oman$154,0000.001%-93.4%
89Cyprus$153,0000.001%-71.2%
90Iran$152,0000.001%-76.5%
91Kuwait$147,0000.001%-79.2%
92Trinidad/Tobago$145,0000.001%-12.7%
93Peru$140,0000.001%-73.2%
94Pakistan$132,0000.001%-55.6%
95Gibraltar$132,0000.001%+4300%
96Cameroon$119,0000.001%+5850%
97Iceland$119,0000.001%-42%
98El Salvador$105,0000.0005%+18%
99Bangladesh$99,0000.0004%-66.9%
100Latvia$88,0000.0004%-37.1%

Among the above 100 major markets, 60 countries increased their spending on imported silver from 2019 to 2020. The 9 strongest percentage gains year over year were posted by Macao (up 25,000%), Mongolia (up 18,033%), Ethiopia (up 8,000%), Cameroon (up 5,850%), Gibraltar (up 4,300%), Bhutan (up 1,594%), Namibia (up 935.3%), Kazakhstan (up 556.8%) and Australia (up 391.6%).

For comparison purposes, consider the demand data for silver jewelry in the table below. The 6-digit HS code prefix for imitation or costume silver is 711311.

RankImporterUS$%Total2019-20
1United States$1,310,438,00020.1%-12.9%
2Hong Kong$1,163,096,00017.8%+52.9%
3Germany$678,101,00010.4%+9.8%
4United Kingdom$561,272,0008.6%-1.5%
5France$260,028,0004.0%+7.4%
6China$251,710,0003.9%-2.2%
7Italy$227,753,0003.5%-34%
8Canada$172,684,0002.7%-7%
9Australia$169,136,0002.6%+9.2%
10Japan$135,455,0002.1%-14.9%
11Spain$131,907,0002%-23%
12Thailand$113,227,0001.7%-25.8%
13Poland$90,899,0001.4%-3.7%
14Switzerland$85,577,0001.3%-8.3%
15Russia$78,623,0001.2%-14.3%
16Netherlands$61,096,0000.9%+2%
17Mexico$59,963,0000.9%-41.2%
18United Arab Emirates$59,620,0000.9%-12.9%
19South Korea$57,299,0000.9%-13.8%
20Denmark$53,771,0000.8%+1.3%
21Belgium$53,110,0000.8%-10%
22Austria$45,112,0000.7%-26.3%
23India$43,471,0000.7%-42.3%
24Dominican Republic$38,653,0000.6%-41.2%
25Taiwan$37,768,0000.6%+0.9%
26Turkey$33,984,0000.5%-37.2%
27Chile$33,905,0000.5%-6.8%
28Czech Republic$31,780,0000.5%+9.3%
29Ireland$27,394,0000.4%+6.7%
30Israel$26,200,0000.4%-16.8%
31Singapore$24,413,0000.4%-28.5%
32Sweden$22,742,0000.3%+0.4%
33Norway$22,477,0000.3%+8.8%
34Portugal$22,204,0000.3%-39.8%
35New Zealand$19,721,0000.3%-6.8%
36Saudi Arabia$18,507,0000.3%-47.8%
37Vietnam$18,291,0000.3%+218.2%
38Malaysia$15,191,0000.2%-33.4%
39Hungary$14,919,0000.2%+28.4%
40Macao$13,790,0000.2%+67.9%
41Greece$12,878,0000.2%-54.2%
42Egypt$11,919,0000.2%+161.8%
43Brazil$10,768,0000.2%-45%
44Philippines$10,090,0000.2%+97.9%
45South Africa$9,076,0000.1%-35.6%
46Panama$8,861,0000.1%-67.1%
47Ukraine$8,269,0000.1%-16.7%
48Belarus$7,664,0000.1%0%
49Bulgaria$7,658,0000.1%+15.6%
50Slovakia$7,375,0000.1%+44.7%
51Colombia$7,188,0000.1%-43.1%
52Iraq$7,017,0000.1%-40.8%
53Finland$6,357,0000.1%-3.1%
54Kazakhstan$6,226,0000.1%-33.5%
55Guatemala$5,871,0000.1%-0.3%
56Croatia$4,965,0000.1%-16.3%
57Lithuania$4,938,0000.1%-23.1%
58Morocco$4,587,0000.1%-20.7%
59Costa Rica$4,205,0000.1%-48.9%
60Qatar$4,064,0000.1%-52.2%
61Serbia$4,037,0000.1%+5.8%
62Estonia$3,790,0000.1%+1.5%
63Luxembourg$3,707,0000.1%-6.1%
64Jordan$3,544,0000.1%-27%
65Indonesia$3,428,0000.1%-48%
66Curaçao$3,294,0000.1%-72.1%
67Cyprus$2,952,0000.05%-41.5%
68Armenia$2,772,0000.04%-30%
69Bahamas$2,595,0000.04%-73.1%
70Slovenia$2,542,0000.04%+7.6%
71Sudan$2,531,0000.04%+47.3%
72Peru$2,453,0000.04%-35%
73Latvia$2,403,0000.04%-21.4%
74Aruba$2,401,0000.04%-67.3%
75Bosnia/Herzegovina$2,232,0000.03%-23.7%
76Libya$2,193,0000.03%-78.7%
77Uruguay$1,887,0000.03%-27.5%
78Azerbaijan$1,674,0000.03%-47%
79Kuwait$1,533,0000.02%-56%
80El Salvador$1,478,0000.02%-52.8%
81Bahrain$1,257,0000.02%-32.6%
82Albania$1,080,0000.02%-28.7%
83Cayman Islands$1,060,0000.02%-70.1%
84Ecuador$951,0000.01%-75.5%
85Bolivia$948,0000.01%-66.2%
86British Virgin Is$939,0000.01%+9.3%
87Kyrgyzstan$904,0000.01%-33%
88Jamaica$886,0000.01%-69.7%
89Argentina$842,0000.01%-51.5%
90Georgia$799,0000.01%+15.3%
91Moldova$671,0000.01%-37.1%
92Lebanon$647,0000.01%-75.2%
93Honduras$646,0000.01%-68.7%
94Turks/Caicos Islands$608,0000.01%-48%
95Montenegro$598,0000.01%-53.6%
96North Macedonia$579,0000.01%-30.7%
97Malta$575,0000.01%-64.5%
98Saint Lucia$562,0000.01%+821.3%
99Iceland$535,0000.01%-19.1%
100Brunei Darussalam$514,0000.01%+115.1%

Among the above 100 key markets for silver jewelry, just 3 jurisdictions increased their spending on imported silver jewelry. These were Hong Kong (up 17.8%), Germany (up 10.4%) and France (up 4%).

Richest Global Markets for Imported Silver

The data below summarizes market demand for silver imported during 2020 by 30 of world’s richest countries in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per person, according to RichestCountryReports.com.

Countries are listed in descending order starting with the wealthiest economy in terms of GDP per capita.

  1. Luxembourg: US$1.1 million (Down -0.7%)
  2. Singapore: $387.7 million (Up 29%)
  3. Ireland: $1.7 million (Up 13.2%)
  4. Qatar: $166,000 (Up 50.9%)
  5. Macao: $502,000 (Up 25,000%)
  6. Switzerland: $641.2 million (Up 49.8%)
  7. Norway: $9.9 million (Up 12.1%)
  8. United States: $5.9 billion (Up 83.7%)
  9. Brunei Darussalam: $1,000 (No 2019 data)
  10. Hong Kong: $1.2 billion (Up 19.1%)
  11. Denmark: $10.8 million (Down -15%)
  12. Netherlands: $58.2 million (Up 30%)
  13. United Arab Emirates: $69.6 million (Up 34.2%)
  14. Taiwan: $524.3 million (Up 54.8%)
  15. Iceland: $119,000 (Down -42%)
  16. Austria: $194.8 million (Up 101.5%)
  17. Germany: $809.9 million (Up 29.1%)
  18. Sweden: $23.4 million (Up 28.1%)
  19. Australia: $665.7 million (Up 391.6%)
  20. Belgium: $60 million (Down -15.8%)
  21. Finland: $9.5 million (Up 16%)
  22. Canada: $2.6 billion (Up 357.9%)
  23. Bahrain: $297,000 (Down -77.4%)
  24. France: $326.7 million (Up 16.9%)
  25. Saudi Arabia: $16.9 million (Up 166.5%)
  26. United Kingdom: $2.7 billion (Up 33.1%)
  27. South Korea: $148.7 million (Up 38.7%)
  28. Malta: $74,000 (Down -3.9%)
  29. Japan: $1.2 billion (Up 34.5%)
  30. New Zealand: $38.5 million (Up 149.5%)

Among the above richest economies, 23 spent more on imported precious metals silver in 2020 compared to 2019. Top gainers were Macao (up 25,000%), Australia (up 391.6%), Canada (up 357.9%), Saudi Arabia (up 166.5%), New Zealand (up 149.5%), Austria (up 101.5%) and the United States (up 83.7%).

Registering the most dramatic double-digit annual declines were Bahrain (down -77.4%) and Iceland (down -42%).

Enduring the greatest declines were United Arab Emirates (down -57%), Singapore (down -45%), Hong Kong (down -26.4%), New Zealand (down -24.7%), Bahrain (down -24.4%), Canada (down -23.1%) and United Kingdom (down -20.9%).

Richest Global Markets for Imported Silver Jewelry

Listed below are the key countries that bought imported silver jewelry in 2020. The scope of this analysis is focused on 30 of world’s richest countries in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per person, according to RichestCountryReports.com.

Countries are listed in descending order prioritizing the richest economies in terms of GDP per capita.

  1. Luxembourg: US$3.7 million (Down -6.1%)
  2. Singapore: $24.4 million (Down -28.5%)
  3. Ireland: $27.4 million (Up 6.7%)
  4. Qatar: $4.1 million (Down -52.2%)
  5. Macao: $13.8 million (Up 67.9%)
  6. Switzerland: $85.6 million (Down -8.3%)
  7. Norway: $22.5 million (Up 8.8%)
  8. United States: $1.3 billion (Down -12.9%)
  9. Brunei Darussalam: $514,000 (Up 115.1%)
  10. Hong Kong: $1.2 billion (Up 52.9%)
  11. Denmark: $53.8 million (Up 1.3%)
  12. Netherlands: $61.1 million (Up 2%)
  13. United Arab Emirates: $59.6 million (Down -12.9%)
  14. Taiwan: $37.8 million (Up 0.9%)
  15. Iceland: $535,000 (Down -19.1%)
  16. Austria: $45.1 million (Down -26.3%)
  17. Germany: $678.1 million (Up 9.8%)
  18. Sweden: $22.7 million (Up 0.4%)
  19. Australia: $169.1 million (Up 9.2%)
  20. Belgium: $53.1 million (Down -10%)
  21. Finland: $6.4 million (Down -3.1%)
  22. Canada: $172.7 million (Down -7%)
  23. Bahrain: $1.3 million (Down -32.6%)
  24. France: $260 million (Up 7.4%)
  25. Saudi Arabia: $18.5 million (Down -47.76%)
  26. United Kingdom: $561.3 million (Down -1.5%)
  27. South Korea: $57.3 million (Down -13.8%)
  28. Malta: $575,000 (Down -64.5%)
  29. Japan: $135.5 million (Down -14.9%)
  30. New Zealand: $19.7 million (Down -6.8%)

Twelve among the above richest economies spent more on imported precious metals silver from 2019 to 2020 led by Brunei Darussalam (up 115.1%), Macao (up 67.9%), Hong Kong (up 52.9%), Germany (up 9.8%) and Australia (up 9.2%).

Posting the worst annual declines were: Malta (down -64.5%), Qatar (down -52.2%), Saudi Arabia (down -47.8%), Bahrain (down -32.6%), Singapore (down -28.5%) and Austria (-26.3%).

Top 10 US Imported Silver Suppliers

In 2020, the United States of America served as the world’s strongest market for imported silver as measured by total sales. America’s top 3 suppliers (Mexico, Canada, United Kingdom) accounted for 62% of US imports of the precious metal silver.

The following countries benefited the most from selling imported silver into the US in 2020.

  1. Mexico: US$2.1 billion (35.6% of US total)
  2. Canada: $807.9 million (13.7%)
  3. United Kingdom: $747.8 million (12.7%)
  4. South Korea: $438.8 million (7.4%)
  5. Germany: $411.3 million (7%)
  6. Poland: $363.2 million (6.2%)
  7. Switzerland: $166 million (2.8%)
  8. Chile: $158.2 million (2.7%)
  9. Kazakhstan: $133.4 million (2.3%)
  10. Russia: $103.2 million (1.7%)

Among the major suppliers of silver above, the fastest gainers in their silver sales to the US from 2019 to 2020 were suppliers in the United Kingdom (up 34,746%), Russia (up 22,538%), Switzerland (up 8,886%), Germany (up 2,298%) and South Korea (up 656.7%).

Silver Imported by Key American States

The following 5 US states imported 75% worth of America’s total silver purchases from international suppliers in 2020.

  1. New York: US$2.1 billion (36.2% of US total)
  2. Connecticut: $1.3 billion (22.2%)
  3. Utah: $736.9 million (11.9%)
  4. Massachusetts: $219.7 million (3.7%)
  5. Idaho: $63.6 million (1.1%)

The greatest percentage increases in imports of silver from 2019 to 2020 were posted by New York state (up 283.3%), Idaho (up 211.2%), Massachusetts (up 165.2%) and Connecticut (up 14.3%).

The -4.9% setback incurred by Utah represents the sole year-over-year decline.

World’s Biggest Silver Miners

The following metrics are specific to the largest silver miners in terms of company revenues as of 2020.

The listed revenue amounts include both domestic and international sales.

  1. Industrias Penoles (Mexico City, Mexico): $4.2 billion
  2. Polymetal International (St. Petersburg, Russia): $2.2 billion
  3. Fresnillo (Mexico City, Mexico): $2.2 billion
  4. Pan American Silver (Vancouver, Canada): $1.4 billion
  5. Wheaton Precious Metals (Vancouver, Canada): $891 million
  6. Coeur Mining (Chicago, USA): $721.9 million
  7. Buenaventura Mining (Lima, Peru): $678 million
  8. Hecla Mining (Coeur d’Alense, USA): $657.6 million
  9. First Majestic Silver (Vancouver, Canada): $368.8 million
  10. Fortuna Silver Mines (Vancouver, Canada): $245.7 million

Shown within brackets is the city which serves as the global headquarters for each silver miner.

Note that 8 of the world’s 10 largest silver miners are in North America, with 2 competitors in South America.

See also

More great research: Best Global Consumer Markets for Selling Imported Gold, Best Global Consumer Markets for Selling Imported Perfumes, Best Global Consumer Markets for Selling Imported Wine, Best Global Consumer Markets for Selling Imported Coffee, Best Global Consumer Markets for Selling Imported Flowers

References

Independent insights and analysis presented in this article are based on researched facts and statistics sourced from the following educational portals.

BoyceWire, Consumer Goods Definition.

Forbes, The Forbes Global 2000 List.

International Trade Centre, Trade Map.

Investopedia, Consumer Goods, Consumer Staples Definition, Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG).

Richest Country Reports, Top 50 Richest Countries by GDP per Capita.

Silver Institute, Silver As A Precious Metal.

Think Engraved, Sterling Silver Rings Can Last Forever.

United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade State Data.

USITC DataWeb, US Merchandise Trade: Imports for Consumption.

Wikipedia, Sterling silver.

Wikipedia, Silver.

World’s Top Exports, Silver Exports by Country.

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