World Footwear


How the pandemic impacted China's footwear trade

Dec 2, 2020 China
How the pandemic impacted China's footwear trade
China, the world’s main manufacturer and exporter of footwear, was the first country to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The hit on exports was first felt in the Asian country, which also started its recovery first than most others
China is the world’s top footwear exporter, with a trade balance in excess of 20 billion dollars in the first semesters of 2016 and 2017. Chinese exports started showing a moderate downward trend in 2018 but took a nose-dive (-30.4%) in the first semester of 2020, because of the pandemic. On the other hand, imports have increased consecutively over the last five years, with the 2020 figure being almost 85% higher than recorded in 2016. As a result, the country’s footwear trade balance deteriorated to 12.3 billion dollars in the first semester of 2020 (41.5% lower than in 2016).

Monthly Evolution

The analysis of monthly data reveals that Chinese footwear exports experienced a strong decline up to April 2020 (42.9%), which was particularly accentuated for the main types of exported footwear, rubber and plastic and textile. The trend was reversed in the months of May and June (in the case of leather footwear, the reversal started in April), with export growth rates ranging between 40% and 79% over these two months.

About the Report

International Footwear Trade 1st Semester: The Impact of the Pandemic describes the evolution of footwear trade worldwide in the first semester of 2020, using the data available as of September 2020. The figures presented, both for the current and previous years, correspond only to the countries that had reported their trade statistics by that date. This leaves out some important players in the footwear trade scene, particularly some important Asian exporters but, in the previous year, the countries included in the report accounted for more than 90% of all footwear trade.