World Footwear


European footwear production drops in the last 4 decades

European footwear production drops in the last 4 decades
Footwear production increased in 2021 by 8.6% to a total of 22 billion pairs of shoes, but Europe is only responsible for 2.8% of the world’s production. Asia ensures, at this stage, 88.2% of the global production

The big picture has significantly changed since 1985. At that time, over 35% of world footwear production was based in Europe, particularly in countries such as Italy (525 million pairs produced), Spain (205 million pairs), France (198 million pairs), Germany (171 million pairs) and the UK (136 million pairs). But in the past four decades, European production has fallen and these five countries, together, have lost more than 900 million pairs of shoes. Portugal has held out, with its footwear production increasing by 36% in 2021 to 76 million pairs since 1985.

Although there has been much talk of reshoring or nearshoring in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, that is, the return of production to their countries of origin or close by, official figures do not seem to support this trend. According to the data of the World Footwear Yearbook, the footwear industry remains heavily concentrated in Asia.

Indeed, since 2011, production in China fell by 6.8% to 12 billion pairs (global share of 54.1%), production in India has increased by 17.7% to 2 600 million pairs, by 68.9% in Vietnam to 1 360 million pairs and by 54.7% in Indonesia to 1 083 million pairs (latest data made available by the World Footwear Yearbook concerning the year 2021). It is noteworthy, still, the fact that China’s relative weight in footwear production is progressively shifting in favour of other Asian players.

Outside Asia, footwear production in countries such as Brazil and Mexico also fell in the last decade: together, they produced in 2021 less 76 million pairs than in 2011. In Europe, the decline in production was of around 7% in the last decade. There are notable exceptions, however. Germany’s footwear production was up by 77.4% to 55 million pairs in 2021. Portugal increased production in more than 15 million pairs of shoes (growth of 24.6%).

In the international scene, emphasis also on the growth of the Turkish footwear industry. In the last decade, this country’s production grew by 191.0% and now reaches 547 million pairs (2021).

For more information about the World Footwear Industry check the World Footwear 2022 Yearbook following this LINK