Global footwear production up

30 November 2004

From 1995 to 2003 worldwide footwear production rose by 30% to 13 billion pairs of shoes. By 2010 experts in the sector expect global output to rise by a further 15% to reach 15 billion pairs. The market is not dominated by Europe but by Asia. European footwear production has been continuously shrinking. Since 1995, it has fallen by 19% to 1.2 billion pairs. In 2003 alone footwear production in 15 EU states decreased by 11.4% to 710 million pairs while exports were down by 13.2%. Exports of Italian shoes alone fell by 8.9% while Italian exports to Germany were already down by 17% in 2002 and decreased by a further 2.7% in 2003. Exports to the US were down by 16% and to the UK by 13% in 2003. In the same period imports to Italy rose by 16.9%. Asia, on the other hand, posted a 48% production growth to a total of 9.9 billion pairs. This means that Asia accounts for a 76% share in global footwear production - and figures are rising. According to estimates by the Confederation of German Footwear Manufacturers, China managed to consolidate its number one position as the world's largest manufacturing country (with a total output of approximately seven billion pairs) in 2003. China is followed by India (over 750 million) and Brazil (642 million). Next to China and India, only Türkiye succeeded in increasing its output figures (more than 215 million). All other countries report stagnating or declining figures while Italy (producing some 330 million) - the only European manufacturer ranking among the top ten - showed a marked decline. China also continued to set the pace in 2003 selling more than 4.3 billion pairs abroad (according to conservative estimates), followed by Hong Kong (approximately 800 million) and Italy (around 320 million). Ranking among the top ten exporters, China, Hong Kong and Brazil (over 164 million) managed to increase their exports even further. Vietnam (333 million), Italy (330 million), Indonesia (176 million), Spain (137 million), Portugal (87 million) and the Netherlands (60 million) all report declining figures. Germany (79 million) and Thailand (136 million) are stagnating. The European footwear markets are responding to these global developments by stepping up imports from Asia and by shifting production to Asia and Eastern Europe. Furthermore, new designers from China, Brazil and Türkiye are launching high-quality labels on the market thereby putting Europe's role models, above all Italy, under pressure. Source: GDS

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