The footwear industry is walking toward home


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Since a few years ago is producing a new relocation of the sector of the Spanish footwear that you can accentuate as a result of the health crisis. It is an industry that has never had a dispersion as large as that of the sector of the clothing, given its complexity, but the problems of supply experienced in China and other asian countries is a cause of the pandemic are doing to reflect on the business model . “Price is very important in a product like the shoe but yes we expect that large chains of clothing and footwear to move their production to Europe. Spain, Italy and Portugal can benefit from,” says Imanol Martinez , director of Marketing and International Business Development of the Federation of Spanish Footwear Industries (FICE). Many things have changed in the industry and it is not always cost-effective production in China “because there is a product medium-high which requires a small production,” he adds.

From the employers believe that has become jaded to the consumer with low prices but at this time there is a clear commitment “by the ethical fashion and sustainable fashion”, which would favour a “quality production in the south of Europe with workers in good conditions,” says Martinez. However, before the economic crisis looming, the purchasing power of the consumer is going to be impacted.

The footwear sector has shown great resilience in times of crisis and last year reached the production of 96.2 million pairs by value, 1958,2 million euros . Some data of the INE, which reflected declines of 2.6% in volume and 6.7% in value. From FICE remind you that the INE counts only firms classified as shoe Manufacturing but there are other companies referred to as wholesalers, who have evolved towards the manufacturing of a part of their sales. In addition to the cluster coexist industrial companies that sell directly to the market (whether internal or external), with a significant number of small-scale industries that produce basically for the companies, national wholesale.

From the sector indicate that it is still early to make estimates for 2020, as there are many uncertainties, but “the fall of the sector could be 25-30%” , it advances the head of Marketing of FICE. Do not expect a recovery towards some semblance of normalcy until the second half of 2021 with the collections autumn/winter 21/22. The Spanish export of footwear during the first four months of the year have fallen a 22,89% in pairs and a 21,53% in value.

Strengths of the sector

One of the strengths of this industry is its internationalization, so that their sales have not seen stops completely . “The close of trade in Spain and other countries has done a lot of damage but we have factories whose production goes directly to other countries, especially those of Alicante, and is what is allowing you to resist,” admits Martinez.

There are brands that have managed to stay committed to the online sale and in these moments, the children’s shoes is having a very good recovery. However, the drop in tourism is taking a toll. “The Spanish product is highly rated for the quality of the skin. The price in Spain is three times cheaper than what they cost out and the tourists buy many shoes when visiting the country,” he explains.

The sector is optimistic as to the recovery although expect closures of some businesses . “With this crisis, we have proven that the planet works best, and the footwear sector can contribute to sustainability,” says Elena Orgilés , deputy director of the Materials and Technology of the Technological Institute of Footwear (Inescop). This new normal is presented as the path towards “sustainability and digitization of the sector”. Orgilés highlights the effort that this industry is doing to recover the sales with advanced systems for disinfection of footwear and also remember that at the beginning of the health crisis “many factories have reacted and turned its production of footwear in masks and robes of protection”. He believes that now is the time to bet on the quality and promises a good future to the Spanish footwear.


In 2019, the Spanish export of footwear kept their figures with regard to 2018, with some slight growth of 1% in value and 2.3% in volume. It reached the figure of 2.677,4 million euros and 155,7 million pairs. “There has been an increase in the exports to the main countries buyers of our european environment. Unfortunately the sales to markets outside the EU decreased by 4%,” explains Imanol Martinez. is the EU is The main buyer of Spanish footwear, representing 80% of total exports in volume and 72% in value . France, Italy, Germany, Portugal and the United Kingdom lead the list of the main destinations. Exports to the EU amounted to 1.932,6 million euros and 124 million pairs, with an increase of 3% both in pairs and in value. “There is a change of trend positive with respect to 2018”, pointed out from FICE. Export destinations of non-eu amounted to 744,8 million euros) and 31.7 million pairs, accounting for 28% of the total value and 20% in volume.