World Footwear

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Italian footwear exports fall by 20%

Jan 4, 2021 Italy
Italian footwear exports fall by 20%
In the first nine months of 2020 the Italian footwear industry saw a drop in production (-29.4%) and in sales (-33.1%). According to Assocalzaturifici Chair Siro Badon the timid return to normality was impacted by the second wave of the pandemic in the country
In the third quarter of 2020 the dynamics recorded by the Italian footwear industry were less unfavourable, but still far from being positive, with a double-digit drop in the turnover of 26.6% of companies surveyed during the period under examination and according to data by Confindustria Moda Research Centre on behalf of Assocalzaturifici. Only 14% of interviewees declared that they had exceeded, or at least matched, their turnover in the third quarter of 2019, while more than half of the panel reported a drop of -20 to -50%. These figures were matched by the Italian National Institute of Statistics (Istat) industrial production index, which registered a decline of 17.4% in the months between July and September.

"The cumulative figures for the first 9 months of the year reveal a sector that has been sorely tried by the COVID-19 emergency. We are seeing shrinkage of around 20% in volume in domestic consumption (-17.8%) and international sales (-20.1%), with a major reduction in industrial production (-29.4%) and an average reduction of one third (-33.1%) in the sales of our member companies. There has been a drop in sales throughout the sector, almost always at double-digit rates, on the principal markets for our products, with a -18.1% drop in the trade balance. The first timid signals of a return to ‘normality’ in demand, on both the international and domestic markets (in September, both exports and household spending in Italy equalled volumes for the same month in 2019) could be immediately annihilated by the second wave of the pandemic, with severe repercussions for the industry’s ability to hold out, resulting in a further reduction in the number of active enterprises (-101 in the first 9 months) and the number of employees (down by about 2 600) in 2020. If component manufacturers are taken into account, the balance is even more negative: -231 enterprises and -3 453 employees. The year saw record-breaking resort to wage support (+930% in the first 10 months of the year in the leather industry, with +1 267% in October). We are very concerned about the months to come”, explains Assocalzaturifici Chair Siro Badon.


Further details

According to Sita Ricerca's Fashion Consumer Panel for Assocalzaturifici, the segments of the market most affected were “classicshoes for men and women (with a drop of around 30%), while the drop in sales of children’s shoes and sports footwear/sneakers was between -15 and -20%. As mentioned above, the reduction was less severe in the slippers and lounge footwear segment, which fell by 7.4% in terms of the number of pairs sold, 6.8% in terms of expenditure.

Despite the boom in online sales, 2020 represents a low point for footwear purchases in Italy, partly due to the absence of international tourism and the resulting sales, especially in luxury footwear.

Exports, which have always been the leading outlet for the footwear sector, dropped by 20.1% in terms of quantity in the first 9 months of the year, and by 17.2% in terms of value. On the whole, including pure product commercialization, 127.1 million pairs of shoes were sold abroad between January and September (almost 32 million less than in the same period in 2019), for a total value of 6.4 billion euro. Average prices increased by 3.6%.

Exports within the EU (representing 65% of the total quantity) dropped by 16.5% in terms of volume (down by 14.5% in value) in the first 9 months of 2020. The drop in exports to France exceeded 20%, in terms of both quantity and value; the drop in exports was less steep in the case of Germany (14% less pairs, which however followed upon a -8.4% drop in 2019), the Netherlands (down by 12%, representing -2.6% by value) and Belgium (-13.4%). Non-EU destinations (which dropped by about -26% on the whole in terms of quantity, almost ten percentage points more than the drop in sales within the EU, and -19.3% by value) saw a drop of 30% in exports to North America. In the Far East (which was on the whole down by23.3% in terms of quantity), the reduction was significant on all the principal markets (China -20%, Hong Kong -35%, and Japan -25% in terms of volume), the sole exception being South Korea (up 16% in terms of value, despite a -6.8% drop in the number of pairs sold). China displayed a certain dynamism in the third quarter (+16.8% by value). The CIS countries also performed poorly (with Russia dropping -25% by volume), as did the Middle East (-20.5%). The reduction in exports to Switzerland (-16.4% by quantity and -9% by value), a traditional logistics and distribution hub for major luxury multinationals, was not as bad, thanks to recovery in the third quarter (+6% in terms of number of pairs, +10% in value). Sales to the United Kingdom are in fact down -29% by quantity, -23% in terms of value.

Image credits: Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

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