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Imanol Martinez (FICE): work that would be done in 4 years was done in 6 months

Jan 6, 2022 Spain
Today we share with you the first part of a conversation with Imanol Martinez, Marketing Director of FICE, the Federation of Spanish Footwear Industries. Amongst other topics, we talked about the COVID-19 crisis and its impacts in the footwear industry



COVID-19

After the initial shock companies really worked hard in three different lines: trying to reduce costs, trying to be more efficient, and finding ways in how to collaborate with retailers in terms of providing the extra time for payments while the shops were closed.

There has been a lot of investment in digitalisation as well, so we have the feeling that the work that would be done in 4 years was done in 6 months. I’m referring to things such as digital show rooms or setting up B2B platforms to deal with their customers. A lot of people are now more focused on the B2C platforms and working with platforms such as Zalando and Amazon, trying to keep their sales.

Nevertheless, one of the strengths about the Spanish industry, like the Italian and Portuguese industries, is that we are very export driven, and so the industry ended up coping better with the difficult moments. And by the end of the year the drop in exports was around 18%. A bad number, but much better than we have expected at the beginning of the pandemic.

Back to Normality?

I think we need to wait until the end of 2022. Obviously, not all parts of the world are going to recover at the same level. Maybe in some areas we can expect a booming recovery, because not all countries have suffered the same kind of crisis.

Trade Shows

People need to touch the product. People need to exchange information. People want to see the design and see the collections.
By the end of the day, people need to see the product and be in contact.

Trade shows play an important role for doing business and more and more we see that personal relationships between retailers and the brands are important.



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