Home » Footwear, 2023 closes on the brakes (+0.9%). The recovery is expected until 2025

Footwear, 2023 closes on the brakes (+0.9%). The recovery is expected until 2025

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Footwear, 2023 closes on the brakes (+0.9%).  The recovery is expected until 2025

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Thanks to the driving force of the first part of the year, the Italian footwear industry closes 2023 with a slightly increased turnover, equal to +0.9% compared to 2022, for 14.6 billion euros. Epxport is expected at 12.8 billion, up 1.1% in value. The trade balance is also good (5.8 billion, +7.3%), but both the spending of Italian families (-1.5%) and above all the volumes produced are struggling (which canceled out the recovery of 2022, returning to 148 million of pairs, -8.6%) and those exported (-10.6%), in significant contraction. 2023 for the Italian footwear industry was outlined by the Confindustria Moda Study Center for Assocalzaturifici, and presented on the occasion of Micam, the most important trade fair in the sector scheduled from 18 to 21 February 2024 at Fiera Milano Rho.

Footwear sector tested by high cost of living and high rates

There is also strong concern for the start of 2024, expected to show a further slowdown at least in the first half of the year, in light of the difficult international scenario, dominated by geopolitical events and risks, and the restrictive financial conditions for families and businesses, which have seen a The surge in costs will impact their margins: for over half of entrepreneurs, in fact, the restart will not take place before 2025.

«The year just ended had a fluctuating trend for the Italian footwear industry – comments Giovanna Ceolini, president of Assocalzaturifici -. The brilliant performances of the first quarter, with double-digit increases for exports and turnover, were followed by a progressive slowdown – partly physiological, given the comparison with months of 2022 no longer penalized by the pandemic – which led to modest results in the second quarter and then to declines in the second half of the year. The fourth quarter, in particular, ended without upheavals compared to the negative trend of the previous one, recording a slowdown in turnover (-5.4%), exports and purchases on the domestic market (-1.8% spending on families), thus further worsening the trend highlighted in the first 9 months”. The signs at the beginning of the year are defined as “worrisome”, and the sector expects a further slowdown at least in the first half of the year.

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In detail, with regards to exports, in the first 10 months of 2023 (at which the official Istat data released so far stop) France confirmed its first place among foreign markets (+17.3% in value and +1, 1% in quantity over January-October 2022), whose figures also include the return flows of production carried out in Italy by French luxury multinationals, which in fact drive the increase in the value of exported pairs. Switzerland, the traditional logistics hub of the brands, was in sharp decline (-24.6% in value and -33.3% in pairs), probably affected by a change in their distribution strategies (which sent a significant part of of goods sold, without transiting through Swiss warehouses as in the past). The United States and Germany suffered drastic setbacks in the second part of the year (in the order of -25% in volume in the July-October four-month period), recording declines of around -20% in pairs in the first 10 months (and in -7.8% and -2.3% respectively in value).

Also strengthened by lower transits in Switzerland, direct flows from Italy to the Far East grew by +15.6% in value and +7.4% in quantity (with China +12.4% in value, Hong Kong +16.5%, Japan +18.7% and South Korea with a moderate +2.8%, the only negative in volume). This area confirms itself as the one with the highest average prices, precisely due to the decisive role played by the brands. The United Arab Emirates also performed well (+30% in value and +8.9% in pairs). Russia (+36.8% in value) and Ukraine (+79%) experienced – after the collapse in 2022 caused by the start of the conflict – a significant rebound, although they still remain below pre-war 2021 levels.

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