China loses relative weight in the global footwear industry

China’s relative weight in the global footwear production is in decline

It’s the main player in the footwear industry worldwide. However, China’s relative weight in the global footwear production is in decline. And other players taking advantage of this window of opportunity.

According to data from World Footwear Yearbook, in 2018, China secured 55.8% of the worldwide footwear production. A considerably lower share comparing to 2011, which ascended to 62.4%. in 2005, China’s relative weight reached 65%. The decline of the Asian giant, which some have called the “world’s factory” of footwear production, contrasts with the increase of the other players from the region.

In fact, in the past seven years, the worldwide footwear production increased 21%, to 24.200 million pairs of shoes produced in 2018 (last year of available data). In the same period, China’s production increase was of 7% (to 13.478 million pairs of shoes), whereas in India, for instances, the production increased 25.2%. Clearly loosing its ground in the international competitive scene is Brazil. In 2011, it occupied the third place among main global producers. However, in the same period, it has lost 4.1% of production (to 857 million pairs) and has, indeed, lost ground to Vietnam, which had a 71% growth to 1300 million pairs, in 2018) and Indonesia (growth of over 93.2% to 1271 million pairs of shoes).
At the moment, the Asian continent holds approximately 86.2% of the global footwear production.

Unsettling is the situation of Europe that, in 1985, secured over 30% of the global footwear production and has significantly declined in the following 20 years. In 2018, the “Old Continent” only provided 3.3% of the worldwide production.

Portugal improves its share
Even if it’s not on the “top 10” of main global footwear producers, Portugal has a relevant position when it comes to leather exports. According to World Footwear Yearbook, from 2011 to 2018, the Portuguese footwear production increased 35.5%, to 84 million pairs of shoes.