Global Footwear Industry
The global footwear market is expected to reach $195 billion by 2015, according to research from Global Industry Analysts, with volume sales exceeding 13 billion pairs by 2012. Market growth is predicted to rebound as consumer confidence builds in the post-recession economy.
Footwear sales have been falling in developed countries and slowing in emerging countries due to lower income levels; and therefore, less spending on apparel and footwear. Consumers are focusing increasingly on value for money, looking for simple, hard-wearing shoes that last. Designer shoes have borne the brunt of this shift in consumption brought on by the economic recession. Shoe manufacturers and retailers are since forced to compete on price and value.
- The outdoor footwear market is driven by demand for shoes that permit easy, fast movement. Products are increasingly lightweight and offer more and more flexibility. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor footwear grew over 14% year-on-year to over $990 million for the first five-months of 2011.
- The athletic footwear market is dominated by a few large players. The US is the largest importer of athletic footwear, mostly manufactured in Asia. Athletic shoes are used across a range of sports, including basketball, tennis and running. Brands are often associated with specific sports, for example Nike for basketball.
- The leather footwear market includes the manufacture and retail of different types of shoes, including casual, sports and dress shoes. Leather is a common material in high-end shoes, used in many designer brands. US brands often source their leather from outside of the US, in countries such as India.
China exports more shoes than any other country, producing almost 13 billion pairs, or 63% of overall production, in 2010, according to RNCOS. Domestic sales have been driven by online shopping and rising demand for specific brands. China has been faced with domestic currency appreciation, along with rising raw materials and production costs. Branded shoes are strong sellers in China, with companies popularizing their shoes with promotional practices. China’s footwear market has recorded strong growth in consumption and exports, which is likely to continue at an annual volume growth rate of 7% for the few years to come. Exports are strong because on the domestic market, Chinese people consume less than 2.5 pairs of shoes each year, whereas the Western average is far higher.
According to MarketLine, advanced emerging markets - Poland, Hungary, Brazil, South Africa, and Taiwan - will reach a combined value of almost $24,219 million in 2014, at an annually growth rate in excess of 4% over five years. Brazil’s footwear market takes the lead, generating revenues of over $9,960 million in 2009.
India’s footwear market is expected to record strong growth in the years to come, reports RNCOS. The market, which has been impacted by an increasing presence of international companies, is predicted to record close to 10% annual growth from 2011 to 2014. The market is fuelled by advantageous factors such as a skilled workforce combined with low labor costs. In production terms, India is second only to China. This market sector drives expansion in India’s leather exports.
There are not only large companies operating in the US footwear market, but also smaller independent brands, which are often acquired by large and mid-size companies. The industry is highly fragmented. In 2010, many companies diversified their product offerings, concentrating on mid-priced or economy athletic brands.
The UK footwear market has been impacted by the economic recession, with consumers cutting down on discretionary purchases. The 65 years and over demographic remains the leader in terms of customer loyalty, with a 90% loyalty score, according to Verdict. Younger consumers shop around to find bargains or try out new brands, with a loyalty score of less than 86%. Retailers are concentrating their efforts on factors such as service, convenience, and ambience, which foster consumer loyalty. Leading UK footwear retailers include Shoe Zone, Primark, Clarks, TescoVisitor, and Brantano.
Key players on the global footwear market include Bata, Deckers, Brown Shoes, Wolverine, Weyco, ECCO, Kenneth Cole, Nine West, Timberland, Puma, Gucci, Lacrosse, Vans, San Paulo & Alpargatas, R.G. Barry, Nike and Adidas.
The global footwear industry has been witnessing a decline. Moving forward, companies operating in developed markets such as the US will continue outsourcing production to cheaper countries like Indonesia, China and Vietnam.
With consumers looking for bargains due to the economic recession, the shift toward cheap imports will continue, accounting for the majority of domestic demand. The industry will see revenue continue to decline, and pricing pressures will make the market environment increasingly competitive.
Leading Industry Associations
- Independent Footwear Retailers' Association www.shoeshop.org.uk
- National Shoe Retailers' Association www.nsra.org
- National Footwear Retailers’ Association www.nationalfootwearretailers.com.au
- American Apparel and Footwear Association www.wewear.org
- British Footwear Association www.britishfootwearassociation.co.uk