World Footwear


The Portuguese footwear industry

Oct 24, 2017 UITIC
The Portuguese footwear industry
Portugal, a key player in the footwear industry world, is hosting the next edition of the UITIC Congress. 2016 was the seventh consecutive year of growth for the Portuguese footwear exports
The Portuguese footwear industry, with a total of 1 473 companies and employing 38 661 people, continues to be highly focused on the international markets exporting more than 95% of its production.

In 2016, Portugal has exported more than 81.6 million pairs of shoes with a total value of more than 1.9 billion euros. This performance represents a growth rate of 3.2% over 2015, and also the seventh consecutive year of growth in sales to the foreign markets. In this short period, the Portuguese footwear industry has presented an outstanding growth dynamic, increasing its exports revenue in roughly 50%. A particularly positive performance considering the instability felt in foreign markets last year and the uncertainty impacting important footwear consumer markets.

Although European countries continue to be the main destination for Portuguese exports, growth of foreign sales has taken place across most markets. In 2016, the main destinations for Portuguese footwear continued to be France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. However, the dynamics of growth for this industry was particularly noticeable in less traditional markets, such as China (+9.7%), New Zealand (12.8%) and the United States (+13.6%).

In the last few decades, the Portuguese footwear industry has undergone rapid and intensive transformation. Footwear companies braced the challenge to modernize their facilities and production methods, also investing in the less tangible aspects that gave them a competitive edge. Nowadays, Portuguese companies are known worldwide not only for the quality of their footwear but also for the excellence of their service, the ability to deliver small series and always based on a quick response to the market needs and requirements.

The innovation process within the Portuguese footwear industry is a continuous one and its biggest challenge is to conciliate the tradition and know-how accumulated over generations with the most modern technology, flexibility, and top-level design. A challenge which has been at the same time one of its most distinctive features.

For more information about the 20th edition of the UITIC Congress please refer to the event's website by following this link.