World Footwear


Global slowdown in international footwear trade

Jan 17, 2024 World Footwear Reports
Global slowdown in international footwear trade
A sluggish demand in two of the main areas for footwear consumption, the US and Europe, resulted in a global slowdown in international trade throughout 2023. Check the snapshot of the performance of the main players with the figures known so far
Given that most footwear exports come from Asia (83.9% in 2022), we decided to look at this continent first, starting with China, which exports more than 70% of its production and whose footwear exports rose to a new record high of 58 billion US dollars in 2022. This Asian giant has seen a decline of 3% in volume and 13% in value from January to November 2023, as compared to the same period of 2022; the value per pair has also fallen significantly by 10%.

The available data for Vietnam is not encouraging either: having become the world’s second-largest exporter of footwear over the past decade, Vietnam’s value of footwear exports fell by 17% year-on-year over the same period. Indonesia followed a similar trend. The value of its footwear exports fell by 20% between January and September 2023, on a comparable basis to the same period of 2022: a year marked by significant export growth of around 25%, exceeding the 10 billion US dollars mark.

A highlight was well to the 6th largest export in terms of volume, India, which saw a 17% increase in export volume and a 30% growth in export value in 2022. The data available for the first ten months of 2023 shows that the country experienced a decline of 11% in volume and 17% in value, with the value per pair falling by 6% year-over-year during this period.

On the American continent, Brazil, whose footwear production mainly supplies its domestic market, had also seen significant growth in exports in 2022. However, this trend came to a halt in 2023: from January to November, its footwear exports dropped by 9% in volume and 14% in value, with the value per pair down by 6%, as compared to the same period of the prior year.

From January to September 2023, footwear imports from the 27 countries of the EU countries decreased by 11% in volume year-over-year, reflecting a diminishing consumption of shoes in the region. But perhaps the most significant data about consumption comes from the US, which was the destination for one in every five pairs of internationally traded shoes in 2022, with a global share of 20.5%. In the first eleven months of the year, US footwear imports fell by 30% in both volume and value, as compared to the same months of the prior year.

While we still need to wait for the final data in 2023, it’s safe to say that in a year marked by high inflation and a higher cost of living, there was definitely a slowdown in the global footwear trade; and perhaps a bit of an adjustment after the general recovery to pre-pandemic levels.

Image credits: No Revisions @ Unsplash