19 April 2023

In the mid-1980s, European footwear production represented more than a third of the total manufactured in the world. Currently, the old continent participates in the market with less than 3%, reports CueroAmérica.


Shoe factory in Elche, Alicante Spain

Europe’s position in the shoe manufacturing market has changed significantly since 1985 when it produced 35% of the total pairs manufactured. According to data from the World Footwear Yearbook, in 2021 Europe had a share well below what it knew to have in the 1980s. Currently, the European share in world production barely reaches 2.8%.

35 years ago Italy manufactured 525 million pairs, Spain, 205 million; France, 198 million; Germany, 171 million and the United Kingdom, 136 million. When comparing current production, those five countries have stopped manufacturing about 900 million pairs a year. The only country that was able to resist the downward trend was Portugal, which increased its production by 36% in 2021.

Despite the nearshoring processes brought about by the pandemic and the container crisis, the strength of footwear production continues to be concentrated in Asia. On that continent, China saw its production fall by 6.8% in 2021 and manufactured 12,000 million pairs, that is, 54.1% of the global share. On the other hand, India increased by 17.7% reaching 2,600 million pairs, Vietnam grew by 68.9% (1,360 million pairs) and Indonesia by 54.7% (1,083 million pairs). These figures show that the relative weight of China, although it continues to be the largest producer, is losing favor to other Asian countries.

Outside of Asia, Brazil and Mexico have also declined their share of global production over the past decade. Both countries produced 76 million fewer pairs in 2021 than they had in 2011. Turkey stands out on the international scene, whose footwear industry has grown by 191% in the last ten years and currently produces some 547 million pairs.

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