Footwear industry in Europe - Statistics and Facts

The European footwear industry is diverse, with a wide variety of materials (textile, leather, plastic etc.) used for manufacturing, as well as distinctions between non-athletic and athletic footwear. In general, the footwear industry consists mainly of these three major components: manufacture, trade and retailers.
Roughly two thirds of the total European footwear production is focused on three countries, namely: Italy, Spain and Romania. Italy alone is responsible for approximately 50 percent of production. This development reflects the production value of Italian footwear. In 2017, the production value amounted to approximately 7.75 billion euros, compared to 7.12 billion euros in 2012. Therefore, it was not surprising Italy was number one, with the highest export value in footwear components in Europe. As of 2016, roughly 740 million euros worth of footwear products were exported from Italy.

The footwear industry is also a competitive one. The leading footwear brand in the Netherlands was Asics Europe. In 2016, Asics saw their turnover amount to approximately 700 million U.S dollars, whereas Under Armor and Ecco generated roughly 425 and 421 million U.S dollars in the same year. The Euro Shoe Group NV led the ranking of leading footwear companies in Belgium in 2016. They had a turnover of approximately 152 million U.S dollars, roughly seven million more than second-ranked Brantano NV.

When looking at consumer expenditure on footwear in the United Kingdom, year on year figures show that consumers spent more on footwear. In 2007, expenditure amounted to approximately 6.1 billion pounds. However, ten years later this number nearly doubled: 2017 showed an annual expenditure on footwear of roughly 12 billion pounds. A similar case was seen in household consumption expenditure on footwear in Sweden.

However, growth of consumer spending might not be received positively by those involved in the industry, as the ''smaller'' offline shoe shop retailers are facing challenges due to the rise of e-commerce. This development can be confirmed among e-commerce shoe buyers in Spain. If in 2016, roughly 9.7 million consumers bought shoes online, it is estimated that this number will rise to 14.5 million in 2022.

Adapting and using e-commerce is one option, but standing out from others might be the most complex challenge retailers have to tackle. Nevertheless, e-commerce has influenced the European footwear industry, forcing retailers to apply different strategies to reach consumers.

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