The Portuguese footwear sector proved its resilience in a more challenging political economy environment, exporting 20 million pairs worth €526 million in the first quarter of 2023, down 4,4% in volume but up 6,8% in value. than for the same period in 2022, writes Worldfootwear.com.
After an atypical 2022 with exports rising over 20% to a record €2m, the Portuguese footwear sector held its ground in the first quarter of the year with the sector exporting 009m pairs worth €20m overall. Compared to the previous year, there was a decrease of 526% in volume, but an increase in value of 4,4%, while the average price of Portuguese shoes increased by 6,8% compared to last year to 11,7 euros per pair.
“As expected, 2023 will be a particularly challenging year for the footwear sector as a result of the economic downturn that has been affecting most of the main destination markets for Portuguese footwear,” said APICCAPS (Portuguese Association of Footwear, Components and Leather Goods Manufacturers). As an example, in Germany, which is the “reference market for Portuguese shoes”, according to the German Trade Association, one in ten shoe stores closed last year, resulting in a total of 1 stores being closed. APICCAPS believes that "500 could be the year of consolidation of Portuguese shoes abroad, but for this it is necessary to redouble efforts to increase investment in promotion in foreign markets and seize new opportunities."
In practical terms, Portuguese footwear continues to strengthen its position in the main foreign markets, especially in non-EU countries, which account for 18% of exports (compared to 16% in the same period last year). In Europe, growth is seen in Germany (up 4% to €115 million), France (up 4,8% to €111 million) and the Netherlands (up 7,7% to €81 million). Outside the EU, strong sales were recorded in the UK (up 13,3% to €32 million), the US (up 10% to €25 million) and Canada (up 7,4% to €6 million).
The leather footwear segment continues to be the main driver of growth, accounting for 86% of sales in the first quarter, up 9,4% compared to sales results in the first quarter of 2022. However, the best performance was recorded in the "other plastic footwear" segment, where sales of Portuguese footwear increased by 18,3% to 26 million euros.
According to the APICCAPS Periodical Bulletin, "Despite the slowdown in the economy, most companies continue to view their business as fair to good." As for the second quarter of the year, namely in terms of production and order book, "stability" was the most frequent reaction of companies. More than four out of five enterprises (80%) believe that their level of employment in the second quarter will not change.