Data: Portuguese Shoe Industry Offers “alternative to Italy” - Latest Global News

Data: Portuguese Shoe Industry Offers “alternative to Italy”

By reducing costs or opening up new market segments, Portugal could become a major player in the luxury footwear sector, according to EY Parthenon.

The Portuguese footwear, components and leather goods sector currently employs around 40,000 people and exports 90% of its goods to 173 countries.

Miguel Cardoso Pinto, partner at EY Parthenon, said that both increasing competition and rising costs pose a threat to the footwear sector.

The consultancy said Portugal has “several comparative advantages” over Italy. The country dominates the luxury footwear industry but is currently “threatened by high production costs, a market dominated by middlemen and a shortage of skilled workers”.

Although it was found that both Portugal and Italy offer high quality footwear production, production costs in Portugal were lower.

GlobalData’s footwear market data shows that the global footwear market is expected to reach a total value of $403.9 billion by 2026, up from $371.1 billion in 2024.

EY Parthenon predicted that the luxury footwear sector, which currently represents 8% of the sector, will grow at an annual rate of 4.1% through 2028.

In a study entitled “The footwear industry’s path to luxury,” EY Parthenon argues that cost reduction and the development of new market segments are key for Portugal to position itself as a “relevant player in the luxury footwear sector.”

EY Parthenon also pointed out that Portugal could increase productivity and optimise labour costs by using new “industrial processes”, while innovative products could also reduce raw material costs.

Strict ESG standards and high-quality products were also cited as keys to entering the luxury footwear sector.

The consultancy added: “Exploring segments with greater value creation potential, entering new geographic areas and optimising new stages of the supply chain are three possible paths to a more competitive future.”

The president of the Portuguese Association of Manufacturers of Footwear, Components and Leather Goods (APICCAPS), Luis Onofre, said: “We want to be an important international reference. Every year 24 billion pairs of shoes are produced, about 90% of them in Asia, which means that nine out of ten people wear Asian shoes. We do not believe that this is sustainable, on the contrary, we believe that there is room in the market for players like Portugal.”

In March 2024, the European Clothing and Textile Federation launched Aequalis-4-TCLF, an EU co-funded project to promote upskilling and retraining in the textile, clothing, leather and footwear sectors.

“In Data: Portuguese footwear industry offers ‘alternative to Italy’” was originally created and published by Just Style, a GlobalData brand.


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