Ranked by total US dollar amounts spent by product category, the world’s 200 top imported consumer products were worth an overall $8.2 trillion in 2020. That metric represents 46.7% of the overall spending on all globally imported goods ($17.5 trillion) for the year.
The total dollar amount for world’s 200 most valuable imported consumer products declined by -6.9% from 2019 to 2020, compared to a -8.2% drop for imports worldwide for the year.
Among the top 200 imported consumer goods by product category, 75 increased in total sales from 2019 to 2020 whereas 125 declined.
The world’s most valuable imported consumer product were cars in 2020. In second place were phones trailed by processed petroleum oils, medications and computers.
Changes in global consumer demand for essential imports offer future opportunities for international suppliers who correctly anticipate which upward or downward trends will continue.
Consumer Products Defined
Economics educator BoyceWire defines a consumer product as a final good or end product that a business creates for consumers to buy. For example, consumers often purchase refined petroleum oil at the gas station while imported 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 a consumer to buy a motorcycle.
Types of Consumer Products
This article focuses on 3 distinct consumer product types.
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, 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 disappointing 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.
Global Consumer Imports Smart List
The searchable marketing intelligence table below showcases the world’s 200 highest-value imported consumer products in descending order. Items were selected at the four-digit Harmonized System tariff classification code level.
The table’s fourth column is labeled YOY for year over year. The fifth column identifies each entry’s consumer product type.
|3||Processed petroleum oils||$441,037,169,000||-36.7%||CP|
|5||Computers, optical readers||$403,536,466,000||+8.8%||SP|
|8||Computer parts, accessories||$135,122,063,000||+5.8%||SP|
|11||Electrical converters/power units||$104,306,281,000||+1.9%||SP|
|12||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$103,527,614,000||-5%||SP|
|13||Coal, solid fuels made from coal||$94,850,531,000||-29%||CP|
|15||Miscellaneous plastic items||$83,736,416,000||+3.5%||CP|
|16||Miscellaneous textile items||$80,797,321,000||+395.6%||SP|
|18||Seats (not barber/dentist chairs)||$75,202,423,000||-8.3%||SP|
|20||Rubber tires (new)||$71,121,786,000||-12.4%||SP|
|21||Electric storage batteries||$66,788,649,000||+13.9%||SY|
|24||Unrecorded sound media||$63,034,079,000||+9%||SP|
|28||Cases, handbags, wallets||$56,945,768,000||-18.9%||SP|
|29||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$54,278,593,000||-1.9%||CP|
|30||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$54,266,992,000||+4%||SY|
|31||Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools||$51,530,610,000||-0.8%||SY|
|32||Other food preparations||$50,221,917,000||+4.2%||CP|
|33||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$49,456,883,000||-13.1%||SP|
|34||Women's clothing (not knit/crochet)||$49,275,115,000||-15.3%||SP|
|36||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)||$49,007,975,000||-14%||SP|
|37||Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys||$48,816,371,000||-3.9%||SP|
|41||Hot-rolled iron/non-alloy steel items||$44,169,080,000||-17.9%||SP|
|43||Packaged insecticides, herbicides||$41,464,247,000||+12.8%||SP|
|47||Screws, bolts, washers, hooks, pins||$38,302,052,000||-10.5%||SP|
|48||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$37,909,803,000||-0.1%||CP|
|50||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$35,406,528,000||-15.7%||SP|
|52||Men's suits (unknit/non-crochet)||$34,380,410,000||-20%||SP|
|54||Furniture base metal mountings||$33,469,862,000||-4.9%||SP|
|55||Other organic cleaning preparations||$32,854,468,000||+3.2%||CP|
|58||Video console games, table games||$30,677,249,000||+7.4%||SP|
|59||Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)||$30,301,931,000||-11%||CP|
|61||Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines||$30,171,167,000||-0.4%||SY|
|62||Miscellaneous precious metal items||$29,321,576,000||+703.4%||SY|
|63||Chocolate, other cocoa preparations||$27,946,702,000||-4.6%||CP|
|64||Footwear (rubber or plastic)||$27,874,816,000||-11.8%||SP|
|67||Crustaceans (including lobsters)||$26,984,375,000||-8.6%||CP|
|68||Vulcanized rubber items||$26,937,548,000||-10%||SP|
|69||Women's clothing (knit or crochet)||$26,546,391,000||-7.9%||SP|
|70||Sugar (cane or beet)||$25,105,399,000||+13.3%||CP|
|73||Fish fillets, pieces||$24,272,965,000||-7.7%||CP|
|74||Felt or other non-woven garments||$23,938,395,000||+139.2%||SP|
|75||Malt extract, food preparations||$23,869,308,000||+0.8%||CP|
|77||Paper containers, cellulose wadding||$23,318,693,000||-4%||SP|
|79||Fresh or chilled beef||$22,496,995,000||-4%||CP|
|81||Whole fish (frozen)||$22,367,389,000||-11.3%||CP|
|83||Miscellaneous fruits (fresh)||$22,170,222,000||+11.2%||CP|
|85||Electric generating sets, converters||$22,080,848,000||-5.7%||SY|
|86||Wrist/pocket watches (regular case)||$22,008,760,000||-17.5%||SP|
|88||Waters with added sugar||$21,709,683,000||+2.1%||CP|
|89||Concentrated/sweetened milk, cream||$20,942,561,000||-1.5%||CP|
|90||Interchangeable hand/machine tools||$20,051,443,000||-12.4%||SY|
|91||Plastic wares (table, kitchen, toiletry)||$19,474,638,000||+0.2%||CP|
|92||Whole fish (fresh)||$19,038,760,000||-10.6%||CP|
|93||Fish, caviar (preserved/prepared)||$17,895,023,000||+4.7%||CP|
|97||Fresh or dried citrus fruit||$17,325,483,000||+16%||CP|
|98||Other pharmaceutical preparations||$17,292,258,000||-6.1%||SP|
|99||Women's coats (unknit/non-crochet)||$16,456,980,000||-17.3%||SP|
|100||Vulcanized rubber apparel/accessory||$16,369,780,000||+84.3%||SP|
|101||Perfumes, toilet waters||$16,352,671,000||-18.7%||CP|
|103||Uncoated paper for writing/printing||$16,208,026,000||-18%||CP|
|104||Miscellaneous preserved fruits||$16,079,333,000||+2.8%||CP|
|105||Other fresh/chilled vegetables||$15,868,571,000||+3.8%||CP|
|109||Miscellaneous meat (preserved/prepared)||$15,441,714,000||-4.8%||CP|
|110||Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners||$15,180,212,000||-3.3%||SP|
|111||Yachts, other pleasure/sports vessels||$15,110,426,000||-9.1%||SP|
|112||Miscellaneous aluminum items||$14,993,045,000||-8.4%||SP|
|113||Electromechanic domestic appliances||$14,755,615,000||+12.3%||SY|
|115||Fruit and vegetable juices||$14,262,206,000||-6.5%||CP|
|117||Soap, organic surface-active goods||$14,101,020,000||+20.6%||SP|
|119||Printed books, brochures||$14,009,867,000||-13.3%||SP|
|121||Sauces, mixed condiments, seasoning||$13,770,713,000||+4.2%||CP|
|124||Men's coats (unknit/non-crochet)||$13,358,814,000||-17.7%||SP|
|125||Hand-drawn paintings, drawings||$13,168,002,000||-36%||SY|
|126||Prepared glues, adhesives||$12,947,881,000||-1.1%||SP|
|127||Medications not in dosage||$12,924,735,000||+2.6%||CP|
|128||Iron/steel tables, household items||$12,672,614,000||+5.5%||SP|
|129||Tissues, napkins, toilet paper||$12,212,095,000||+6.8%||CP|
|130||Wrist/pocket watches (precious case)||$12,100,063,000||-16.5%||SP|
|131||Shaving preparations, deodorants||$11,936,982,000||-7.5%||SP|
|133||Grapes (fresh or dried)||$11,855,579,000||+2.7%||CP|
|135||Dried shelled vegetables||$11,388,258,000||+15.2%||CP|
|137||Iron/steel stoves, barbecues||$11,193,221,000||+9.2%||SY|
|138||Prepared vegetables (non-frozen)||$11,096,461,000||+4.3%||CP|
|140||Glass bottles, other containers||$10,918,761,000||+1.6%||SP|
|141||Fuel wood, wood chips, sawdust||$10,907,676,000||-9.6%||CP|
|143||Apples, pears (fresh)||$10,793,327,000||+6.5%||CP|
|144||Plastic tile or roll coverings||$10,793,180,000||+7.1%||SP|
|145||Stockings, hosiery (knit or crochet)||$10,632,397,000||-14.2%||SP|
|146||Sugar confectionery (no cocoa)||$10,586,925,000||-8.8%||CP|
|147||Women's shirts (not knit or crochet)||$10,305,306,000||-26.8%||SP|
|149||Women's underwear (knit/crochet)||$10,143,773,000||-9.4%||SP|
|152||Bras, corsets (unknit/non-crochet)||$9,914,098,000||-12.8%||SP|
|154||Men's shirts (not knit or crochet)||$9,665,587,000||-29%||SP|
|157||Men's suits,trousers (knit or crochet)||$9,415,385,000||-3.1%||SP|
|158||Other printed pictures, photos||$9,326,045,000||-14%||SY|
|159||Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles||$9,206,612,000||+9.8%||SP|
|160||Lubricant preparations, anti-rust||$9,203,620,000||-10.6%||SP|
|163||Miscellaneous live plants||$8,848,123,000||+3.9%||CP|
|164||Red meat offal||$8,829,216,000||+6.3%||CP|
|165||Crustaceans, molluscs (preserved/prepared)||$8,775,333,000||-3.4%||CP|
|168||Prepared vegetables (frozen)||$8,572,262,000||-10.7%||CP|
|169||Magnets including electro-magnets||$8,472,975,000||-4.1%||SY|
|170||Coffee/tea extracts, concentrates||$8,214,765,000||-1.8%||CP|
|171||Sowing seeds, fruits, spores||$8,081,490,000||+2.5%||CP|
|174||Compasses, other navigational aids||$7,730,323,000||-18.1%||SY|
|175||Coins including legal tender||$7,682,040,000||+61.3%||SY|
|177||Ceramic sinks, tubs||$7,416,593,000||+14.3%||SP|
|178||Onions, garlic, leeks||$7,393,914,000||+8.8%||CP|
|179||Caps, lids, corks, pouring stoppers||$7,358,401,000||+3.9%||SP|
|181||Carnival items, magic tricks||$7,284,419,000||-7.9%||SY|
|183||Sheep or goat meat||$7,180,767,000||-9.2%||CP|
|184||Meat, fish or crustacean flours, pellets||$7,148,985,000||-2.1%||SP|
|185||Insoles, heel cushions||$7,114,193,000||-13.5%||SP|
|188||Miscellaneous wooden articles||$7,041,820,000||+7.6%||SP|
|189||Prepared cereal foods||$7,011,578,000||+4.3%||CP|
|191||Vegetable saps, extracts||$6,941,946,000||-0.9%||CP|
|192||Coconuts, Brazil nuts, cashews||$6,897,686,000||-22.4%||CP|
|193||Infant clothing (knit or crochet)||$6,660,175,000||-9.8%||SP|
|194||Wide knit or crochet fabrics||$6,498,911,000||-10.6%||SP|
|195||Oral/dental hygiene preparations||$6,390,865,000||-2.2%||CP|
|196||Men's shirts (knit or crochet)||$6,390,753,000||-21.8%||SP|
|197||Tea (including flavored)||$6,342,666,000||-6.1%||CP|
|199||Special garments including sports||$6,255,791,000||-13.7%||SP|
|200||Other synthetic paints, varnishes||$6,223,560,000||-3.9%||SP|
The world’s most popular product type is shopping products (SP) led by cars, phones, computers, and automobile parts or accessories. Shopping products represent 86 of world’s top 200 imported consumer goods.
Close behind in second place via 82 entries are convenience products (CP) led by processed petroleum oils, medications, coal, miscellaneous items made from plastic, and soya beans.
The third product category encompasses speciality products (SY) with 32 entries. Examples of world-leading speciality products are global imports of gold, diamonds and electric storage batteries.
Durable consumer products are goods like cars, refrigerators and furniture that last a relatively long time. Consumers can put durable products to use again and again. By product type, note that all shopping products and speciality products are considered as durable consumer products.
Non-durable consumer products (ND) are goods that are not re-used once consumed. Alcoholic beverages and bananas are examples of non-durable goods. Convenience products are uniquely non-durable consumer products.
Based on the product types identified in the above table, 168 of world’s highest-value consumer imported products are durable while 32 are classified as non-durable.
You can also peruse the greatest increases or decreases in product values from 2019 to 2020. To do so, click on the heading of the fourth column.
Fastest-Growing Consumer Imports
Listed below are the top 10 consumer products imported around the globe that experienced the highest percentage increases in spending from 2019 to 2020.
- Miscellaneous precious metal items: Up 703.4% ($29.3 billion)
- Miscellaneous textile items including dress patterns: Up 395.6% ($80.8 billion)
- Garments made from felt or non-woven special fabric: Up 139.2% ($5.9 billion)
- Vulcanized rubber clothing and accessories: Up 84.3% ($16.4 billion)
- Coins including legal tender: Up 61.3% ($7.7 billion)
- Silver: Up 38.4% ($22.5 billion)
- Soap, organic surface-active goods: Up 20.6% ($14.1 billion)
- Sunflower, safflower and cotton-seed oils: Up 19.2% ($13.6 billion)
- Swine meat: Up 18.4% ($37.9 billion)
- Fresh or dried citrus fruit: Up 16% ($17.3 billion)
Seven among the above items are durable goods that consumers can re-use over time. Four are shopping products that require a comparatively longer time to make a buying decision, while 3 top gainers are periodically purchased speciality items specifically miscellaneous precious metal items, coins including legal tender, and silver.
Three of the 10 fastest-growing imported consumer products are convenience products that are consumed once. These are sunflower, safflower and cotton-seed oils, swine meat (pork) and fresh or dried citrus fruit.
Worst-Declining Consumer Imports
The world’s spending on the following 10 items decreased at the greatest pace from 2019 to 2020.
- Processed petroleum oils: Down -36.7% ($441 billion)
- Hand-drawn paintings and drawings: Down -36% ($13.2 billion)
- Jewelry: Down -33.9% ($62.4 billion)
- Unmounted/unset diamonds: Down -32.4% ($74.1 billion)
- Unknit/non-crocheted men’s shirts: Down -29% ($9.7 billion)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: Down -29% ($94.9 billion)
- Unknit/non-crocheted women’s shirts: Down -26.8% ($10.3 billion)
- Trucks: Down -22.4% ($113.5 billion)
- Coconuts, Brazil nuts, cashews: Down -22.4% ($6.9 billion)
- Knitted or crocheted men’s shirts: Down -21.8% ($6.4 billion)
Three among the top 10 declining product categories are non-durable convenience products that are consumed one time only. These top-gaining convenience products are processed petroleum oils, coal including solid fuels made from coal, and coconuts, Brazil nuts and cashews.
Another 3 speciality products made the list of leading losers namely hand-drawn paintings and drawings, jewelry as well as diamonds.
The remaining 4 import decliners are shopping products that normally require more time for shoppers to make buying decisions. Purchases under the shopping products category are more likely to be deferred than convenience products. Examples of declining shopping products are men’s or women’s shirts.
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.
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: World Economy.
International Trade Centre, Trade Map.
Trading Economics, World Consumer Spending.
Wikipedia, List of largest consumer markets.
World’s Top Exports, World’s Top Imports: Products and Countries.