Survey Says Global Footwear Outlook Is Positive

Weeks before the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis emerged, members of the global footwear community were positive about the footwear segment’s outlook for the first half of 2020, despite some key geographical trend differences. Among the key trends predicted in World Footwear’s second Business Conditions Survey, conducted in December 2019 with 183 respondents: Prices will increase; sneakers and sports footwear will continue to gain market share at the expense of classic dress and casual styles; and price and fashion trends will determine sales in each footwear category. One-third of survey respondents were associated with footwear manufacturers, 25 percent were in footwear trade/distribution and 20 percent were from North America.

More than half, or 56 percent, of North American respondents predicted price stabilization over the first six months of the year; 42 percent predicted price hikes. Survey respondents were overwhelmingly bullish about the growing importance of sneakers over the next three years, as 42 percent predicted a decline in the evolution of classic leather footwear. Geographically, 80 percent of survey respondents in Asia and South America forecasted higher sneaker sales. Meanwhile, 60 percent of North American and European respondents predicted a higher global market share for sport shoes.

Among expected key market difficulties cited by respondents, competition in international markets (39 percent) and cost of merchandise or raw materials (34 percent) paced a list of 13 potential issues. North American survey respondents (at 28 percent) were most concerned with legal or administrative obstacles to international trade.

World Footwear is an initiative of APICCAPS, the Portuguese Footwear, Components and Leather Goods Manufacturers’ Association.

The survey was conducted before the outbreak of the coronavirus that has damped sales in China and raised fears of continued impacts if the virus continues to spread.