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APLF, Fashion Access and Indian Footwear
Mukhtarul Amin | 19 December 2017

Indian companies have been participating in the Hong Kong leather fairs for many years. In the Raw Material Fair - APLF Leather -  participation has been happening since decades and in Fashion Access as well for the last 10 to 12 years. The Council for Leather Exports (CLE) has been organising the participation in both APLF and Fashion Access for the last 6 years.

In the upcoming March 2018 edition of Fashion Access, the Council is having a focused display of Footwear from India in a dedicated footwear pavilion. About 20 companies are expected to participate. In addition, there will be participation of our member companies displaying Leather Accessories and Garments in the main Fashion Access Fair.

The dedicated footwear pavilion is to showcase Indian Footwear in a focused manner as Hong Kong has been having such presentations of Indian Leather and to some extent Leather Accessories & Garments; but Footwear has not been highlighted. Hong Kong is an important partner in India’s leather sector trade, as it is the destination with maximum exports after USA and the main EU markets of Germany, UK, Italy, Spain and France.

Change in current footwear market 

Indian Footwear Manufacturers are faced with a scenario of tremendous opportunities comprising of a booming domestic market and considerable potential for enhancing exports to international markets. In the year 2016-17 India exported footwear worth about US$2.77 billion while its own domestic market generated revenues of close to US$10 billion. Footwear is the engine of growth of the Indian Leather Sector with a share of about 42% of exports from the overall Indian leather sector.

India ranks among the top exporting countries of leather footwear and has a global share of 4.19%. When leather and non-leather footwear are taken together, India ranks 11th as the largest global exporter of footwear.

Outlook for Exports of Footwear

Exports of footwear are projected to grow at 15% and reach US$4.22 billion in 2019-20. The domestic footwear market is also poised to grow at this same rate of 15% to reach US$15.21 billion  in 2019-20. The per capita consumption of footwear in India of 2 pairs is expected to grow to 4 pairs in the next 4-5 years. The growth in domestic footwear consumption has been fueled by the robust growth in organized retail in India. 

Indian manufactures are aiming for increased capacity with a focus on technological upgrades of production processes. Design is being emphasised by footwear manufacturing concerns with an eye on tapping the fashion segment in footwear. There is considerable diversification in the product range with an increasing focus on Ladies & Children’s Footwear.

Make in India Initiative

Under the Make in India initiative of the government, domestic manufacturing and job creation are being emphasised and footwear is one of the Focus Sectors. The government of India is encouraging capacity expansion and technological upgrades through Schemes for the Leather & Footwear Sector as the Integrated Leather Development Scheme as well as the establishment of Mega Leather & Footwear Clusters. 

The CLE has an aggressive international marketing program with member companies participating in all major international footwear fairs. Additionally, the Council organizes Buyer-Seller Interactions in many key markets

Hong Kong and Asian markets 

Asia is the largest footwear producer accounting for around 87% of world’s footwear production.  Asian countries also rank first in terms of world footwear consumption.  India as part of Asia contributes significantly to the overall production and consumption of footwear being the second ranked global producer and third ranked global consumer.

Hong Kong is the 6th largest importer of leather and leather products in the world.  During 2016, Hong Kong imports leather and leather products to the tune of US$8.45 billion.  Hong Kong accounts for a share of around 5% in the global leather import trade of US$180.87 billion in 2016. India’s export of leather and leather products to Hong Kong is US$266.16 million in 2016-17. Honk Kong’s is a very significant importer of hootwear with  leather footwear imports of US$2.17 billion and non-leather footwear imports at US$1.07 billion in 2016.

 It is a well known fact that Hong Kong which has been an important trading center for decades, is home to the offices of many international brands and Buying Offices of large companies, retail chains, department stores and so on.

With Hong Kong being the gateway to Mainland China, Indian exporters participate in large numbers in the trade events in Hong Kong to enhance its export share both to Hong Kong as well as to China, thereby enhancing its share of exports to Asia.  Currently, Asia accounts for around a 21% share in India’s total export value of US$5.67 billion in 2016.

Type of products buyers can source from CLE members?

Indian manufacturers will be using the platform at Fashion Access to emphasise their robust growth based on market-oriented product diversification. A matrix of Men’s, Ladies and Children’s footwear in a combination of Formal, Casual and Fashion segments will be on display.

India produces different types of footwear such as, Dress Shoes, Casuals, Long/Half Boots, Sandals, Chappals/Slippers/Huaraches, Moccasins, Sport Shoes, Ballet Shoes, and Flip-Flops made of rubber, plastic, PVC and other materials.  India also manufactures Industrial/Safety Shoes/Boots, Army Boots, Orthopaedic Shoes and others. India has a unique identity in manufacturing leather footwear - more than 85% of India’s footwear exports is leather footwear.

Arvind Footwear Rana Overseas Shoes


Indian footwear companies have forayed into fashion footwear and many manufacturers have launched their own brands mainly in the domestic market. Yet India’s traditional strength of well-crafted leather footwear made from the finest leather will also certainly be on display.

The Council will seek to highlight the opportunities present in India to persuade leading brands and buyers to collaborate with Indian companies and manufacture in India under the facilitating Make in India initiative, aimed at tapping the huge Indian market and exporting to overseas countries.

The inherent strengths of the Indian economy and competitive factors for footwear manufacturing, such as availability of raw material, a huge young skilled workforce, and a traditional heritage leather crafting and footwear manufacturing will be highlighted.

By Mukhtarul Amin – Chairman India’s Council for Leather Exports