Lebanon - Country Commercial Guide
Apparel

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data

Last published date: 2020-09-29

Overview

Traditionally, Arab tourists and Lebanese expatriates drove robust retail apparel sales in Lebanon.  However, Lebanon’s economic crisis and global travel restrictions due to the spread of COVID-19 have discouraged tourists from traveling to Lebanon; the number of passengers traveling to the Beirut airport in the first half of 2020 fell by over 70 percent compared to the first half of 2019. 

According to Lebanese Customs statistics, U.S. apparel exports to Lebanon reached $7.9 million in 2019, compared to $7.3 million in 2018, constituting around 1.3 percent of total apparel imports to Lebanon.  A range of U.S. brands are available in the Lebanese market, including: American Eagle Outfitters, GAP, Gymboree, Juicy Couture, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Nautica, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Rock and Republic, 7 for All Mankind, Steve Madden, Tommy Hilfiger, Tory Burch, True Religion and Under Armour.

Given that the local financial sector has imposed strict controls on capital outflows, experts predict a major decrease in apparel exports to Lebanon and a slight increase in local production.  Imports in the first half of 2020 have already fallen by 50 percent compared to the same period in 2019.  With the destruction of the Port of Beirut, analysts expect imports to fall even further.

Table 1: Apparel Chart

 

2018

2019

2020(Estimate)

2021 (Projection)

Total Local Production

$210 million

$210 million

$100 million

$80 million

Total Exports

$33 million

$49 million

$32 million

$25 million

Total Imports

$504 million

$607 million

$208 million

$104 million

Imports from the U.S.

$7.3 million

$7.9 million

$2 million

$1 million

Total Market Size

$681 million

$768 million

$276 million

$152 million

Exchange Rates

LBP1507.5

LBP1507.5

LBP1507.5

LBP1507.5

(total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports)

Units: $ millions

Source: Lebanese Customs statistics – Section 11 / Chapters 61, 62

Leading Sub-Sectors

Demand for casual wear in Lebanon is high.  Consequently, there is demand for U.S. apparel, as many Lebanese consider U.S. brands to be the leader in casual wear, according to industry experts.

Lebanese buyers regularly travel to the Magic Apparel Show in Las Vegas and the Coterie Show in New York to explore the latest trends in the U.S. fashion industry.

Opportunities

The U.S. Commercial Service provides a wide range of services, including Gold Key Service (GKS) and International Partner Search (IPS), which help U.S. companies explore opportunities in Lebanon.  Moreover, the U.S. Commercial Service organizes events and exhibitions, including “Taste of America,” to promote U.S. products and services in Lebanon.

Web Resources

Lebanese Customs Administration

Lebanese Franchise Association

U.S. Commercial Service

Contact for the Commercial Section that covers the apparel sector: Naaman Tayyar, Head of Commercial Section, Email: Naaman.Tayyar@trade.gov.