Agência para o Investimento e Comércio Externo de Portugal


World footwear production has grown in the last year, after two years of flatlining. That’s the finding of a new report from World Footwear Yearbook 2018, published by the Portuguese Footwear Association. It revealed that worldwide footwear production resumed growth in 2017 to reach 23.5 billion pairs, 2% up on the previous year.

The report highlights, however, that 2% is still significantly down on the peak years of 2010 and 2014 when average annual growth was 15.4%. Nevertheless, it does represent a return to positive growth direction after two years of very flat results.

A closer look reveals that global footwear exports grew by 0.7% in terms of volume and by 3.7% by value. That is in large part due to the average export price increasing by 3%, reaching a record level of $9.18 per pair.


As is usual, growth was spread geographically, with production mostly concentrated in Asia where 87% of all pairs of footwear are manufactured.


Within that, China still produces two thirds of all exported pairs of footwear - which itself marks a return to positive trend, which has seen a continued loss during the last five years, where China had seen its market share drop by six points. However, in 2017 China recovered 0.2 p.p.


So who is buying all these shoes. Data from the report shows that, in 2017, India overtook the USA as the second largest consumer of footwear. China retains its top spot in the consumption tables, while Asia in general continues to be the main region for footwear consumption (54%), followed by Europe (16%) and North America (15%).