United States Dossier

Everything you need to know about the United States
$6.9 T
Distribution market
Partner countries
331 M
Number of Americans
Economic power
Increase in GDP in 2022

The United States Demographic

With 331 million people, the United States is the third most populous country in the world, after China and India. With an area of 9.8 million square kilometers, the country is the fourth largest in the world. The population is mostly concentrated along the sea coasts and large lakes, and more generally in the eastern half of the country. The population is mainly urban (82%), and lives in large residential areas, the urban model having favored large metropolises with single-family houses rather than apartment buildings. A dozen metropolises have more than five million inhabitants, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas.

About 38% of population growth depends on immigration, and foreign-born residents made up one-third of the total population in 2015. The United States has more immigrants than any other country in the world. Today, more than 40 million people living in the U.S. were born in another country, accounting for about one-fifth of the world's migrants. The immigrant population is also very diverse, with nearly every country in the world represented.

The average age is 38 years, ten years younger than in Germany. The low fertility rate and the gradual increase in life expectancy are the reasons for the aging of the population that the United States is facing. Over the next 15 years, seniors (people aged 65 and over) will outnumber children (18 and under) for the first time in U.S. history. By 2034, demographers project that there will be 77 million people aged 65 and older, while children under 18 will number 76.5 million.

In the United States, racial tensions and social inequalities are particularly high. The political climate has deteriorated significantly over the past decade, threatening democratic institutions.

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The American Economy

With a GDP of $23 trillion, the U.S. economy is the largest in the world. Comprising less than 5% of the world's population, Americans generate and earn more than 20% of the world's total income. Stretching across regions of diverse climates, possessing vast reserves of natural resources, and with direct access to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the United States is economically fortunate. The U.S. economy is diversified and the country has long dominated certain sectors such as aviation and electronics. In international economic relations, the country benefits from the importance of the dollar as well as its military and diplomatic power. The United States has also become the world's largest producer of oil and gas.

The U.S. economy has rebounded strongly from the COVID recession in 2020-21, aided by a significant and sustained government policy response. U.S. GDP is expected to grow by 3.1% in 2022 and 2.2% in 2023. However, according to the OECD, Russia's war with Ukraine and strong inflationary pressures are expected to cloud this economic outlook.

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Trade Agreements With The United States

The United States has 20 partner countries through various free trade agreements. This represents 1.5 billion accessible consumers.

Historically, U.S.-negotiated free trade agreements have been more comprehensive, both in terms of tariff coverage and the overall scope of enforceable commitments, than those negotiated by other countries. In general, U.S. free trade agreement rules and obligations also go beyond those established by the World Trade Organization. The following are the major free trade agreements in force:

CUSMA: The Canada-United Sates-Mexico Agreement

→ Partner countries: Mexico, Canada.

Canada, the United States and Mexico have built long-standing economic ties and created the largest free trade region in the world. The CUSMA came into effect in 2020 and replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The agreement gives businesses in the three member countries easy access to millions of consumers beyond their borders.

CAFTA-DR: The Dominican Republic-Central American Agreement

→ Partner Countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) is the first free trade agreement between the United States and a group of small developing economies: our Central American neighbors Costa Rica, the Republic of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic. CAFTA-DR promotes stronger trade and investment ties, prosperity, and stability throughout the region and along the southern border.

Together, the CAFTA-DR countries represent the 18th largest U.S. trading partner, with $57.4 billion in total (two-way) merchandise trade in 2018. Exports totaled $32.2 billion while imports totaled $25.2 billion. The U.S. merchandise trade surplus with CAFTA-DR countries was $7 billion in 2018. According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. merchandise exports to CAFTA-DR supported approximately 134,000 jobs in 2014.

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Distribution Networks in the United States

Large retail chains dominate the U.S. retail market, including Walmart, Costco and Kroger. Other retail chains have specialized in areas such as home improvement (Home Depot), or electronics (Best Buy). After great difficulties during the COVID crisis, small businesses are making a comeback, with, for example, an increase in independent bookstores.

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E-commerce in the United States

The United States is one of the most connected countries in the world. According to Statista, 90% of Americans will have access to the internet by 2022. The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly contributed to the acceleration of e-commerce by promoting a new way to consume from home. As a result, e-commerce revenues have nearly doubled since 2019 to $870 billion by 2021. It is projected that these revenues will reach $1,330 billion in 2025. The category most involved in online shopping is fashion, followed by electronics and media. The online platform Amazon dominates the sector with 56.7% of sales in 2021. About 42% of online users have already shopped internationally, mostly with the UK, China, and Canada, and 77% say they are ready to do so.

The 25-34 generation is the largest group for online shopping, followed by the 35-44 age group. The pandemic has also led to an increase in e-commerce usage among those over 65.

Commerce platforms such as Amazon and Shopify operate on a hybrid system, serving as home distribution networks for third-party vendors as well as for their own products.

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U.S. Trade Intermediaries

The U.S. distribution market is worth $6.9 trillion, up 3.8% from 2021. Trade intermediaries in the United States are divided into two categories: trading companies and wholesalers or distributors.

Trading companies are large retailers such as Walmart, Costco and Target, who centralize their purchases in their headquarters to negotiate better prices.

Wholesalers are responsible for purchasing products from multiple suppliers for resale to other businesses such as restaurants, mass merchandisers or other wholesalers. Wholesalers are generally specialized in a particular sector of activity. Among the most important are Sysco and US Foods for restaurants.

For more information, the National Retail Federation website lists a large number of distributors in the United States.

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Commercial agents in the United States

Sales agents represent companies in the U.S. market. Their mission is to create or strengthen business relationships with customers in a given area. These agents are paid a commission based on sales in the area they represent. The percentage varies by industry and company, but sales agents are a worthwhile investment for small businesses looking to expand their presence in the territory.

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The specificities Of the American market

The agri-food market

The demand for fresh produce is growing in the U.S., and many supermarkets now have departments offering gourmet and local products, such as beverages, charcuterie, cheeses, and baked goods. French products are particularly popular. Distributors such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe's provide access to a large mid-to-high-end market. Most supermarkets offer ready-made meals ('Delicatessen' or 'Deli') representing a segment worth US$21 billion by 2021.

The alcohol market

The wine market is a growing sector in the United States with a total revenue of $53 billion in 2022. As the fourth largest wine producer in the world, the United States is the world's largest importer with 12.3 million hectoliters imported in 2020. French wine exports to the U.S. represented $2.5 billion in 2021, ranking second in the world in terms of financial value and third in terms of volume. Legislation differs among the 50 states, six of which account for nearly half of the volume consumed (California, Florida, New York, Texas, New Jersey and Illinois).

After a drop in 2021 during the COVID period, the U.S. market is expected to grow at about 10% annually by 2025. Restaurateurs value direct links with quality producers for their customers who want high-end products or lesser-known regions (Alsace, Loire). Organic wines ('natural', 'organic', or 'healthier') are particularly popular.

The innovation market in the United States

The United States is investing heavily in innovation, especially as competition with China is now strategic. In 2020, spending on innovation ('Research & Development' or 'R&D') amounted to $708 billion, up nearly 4% over the previous decade, and about 28% of overall spending. Investment in innovation comes mainly from business (75%), universities (12%) and the federal government (9%).

The U.S. has highly qualified personnel and programs that are very attractive to investors as well as to foreign researchers, despite delays in visa awards. However, research costs can be high, especially in areas such as computer science and biotechnology. The federal government has many programs to boost industry on U.S. soil in cutting-edge fields, such as semiconductors.

American regulation

The United States has a complex regulatory framework, including both the federal and state levels. The Federal Communications Commission regulates interstate and international communications via cable, radio, television, satellite and wireline. The Commission's goal is to promote connectivity and ensure a robust and competitive marketplace. The Food and Drug Administration develops regulations based on laws set forth in the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) or other laws, including the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, under which FDA operates. FDA regulations have the force of law.

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