According to the projections of the latest Business Conditions Survey, world footwear consumption should grow by 6% in 2022. The World Footwear panel of experts believes that the biggest growth shall occur in Asia (8.9%), followed by South America (7%) and Africa (6.8%). In Europe and North America, it is expected a growth of 5.2% and 2.5%, respectively.
Regarding the amount of commercialized footwear, 64% of the interviewed expects this value to rise, and 22% to stabilize. Respondents in Asia and South America are more optimistic than those in other continents, with 80% expecting sales to increase.
The Business Conditions Survey – which had 108 valid responses from experts in Europe (48%), Asia (22%), North and South America (14% and 9%) and Africa (7%) – suggests that 2022 will be a year of growth for the global footwear industry, with consumption and prices on the rise. But, in this scenario, concerns also increase, with inflation, raw materials costs and the war in Ukraine condition the normal functioning of the market.
A year of recovery
The latest footwear trade data points to a very positive recovery year in 2021. When compared to 2020, imports have increased in most of the world’s main footwear markets. However, inflation, rising energy costs and the war have altered the initial projections of economic growth for this year. The latest projections of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank estimate a smoother growth of the world’s GDP in 2022.
Still, the majority of respondents of this edition of the Business Conditions Survey believe that the “businesses’ health” for the next six months will be very strong (53%) or strong (15%).
Energy and raw materials prices have been surging in the past months in several parts of the world, so, 97% of the experts consider that it is very likely (69%) or likely (28%) that footwear prices will be readjusted in the coming six months.
On average, experts anticipate prices to rise by 8.4% in the next semester, with a high of 9.8% in Europe and a low of 5.7% in North America.
Expectations for the evolution of retail prices in footwear are high: half of the experts expect them to increase (between 5% and 20%) and 35% expect them to increase moderately (between 1.5% and 5%) over the next six months.
There is a more optimistic general expectation regarding the evolution of employment, with Europeans showing the least optimism: 48% of respondents anticipate employment to stabilize, and only 39% expect it to increase.
The main difficulties pointed out by most respondents are the cost of raw materials or merchandise (84%); issues with labour (40%), and financial difficulties (28%) are equally relevant.
About two-thirds of the experts think that digital retail channels will gain importance in the sale of footwear in the next three years. Forecasts are much more ‘sober’ when it comes to physical stores, with only a third of respondents believing they will grow in the next three years.
Among physical stores, large-scale retail is expected to perform better than other formats. Views on the evolution of other unspecified retail channels continue to be positive, but register a lower balance of responses than in the previous edition of this survey.
According to Luís Onofre, “despite the alarm signals caused by an unexpected conflict in Europe, this survey seems to confirm the good indicators that 2022 will be a year of recovery for the footwear sector at an international level”. “We hope that this will be a year of affirmation for the Portuguese footwear in foreign markets”, underlines the President of APICCAPS.