Within the Community Support Framework Portugal 2020, the footwear cluster had approved investments of around 94.4 million euros. Until June 2018, 273 footwear companies were involved in Portugal 2020 projects with a sales volume of 1100 million euros – approximately 50% of the cluster’s total production.
These companies are responsible for 13 thousand workers. The overall approved amount of investment is 94.4 million euros, with three main types of investment: ‘Fairs and Marketing’, with 53 million euros; ‘Buildings and Equipment’, with 25 million; and ‘Research and Development’, with 8.2 million.
“These investments are in line with our Strategic Plan”, stated Luís Onofre, APICCAPS’ President, and are “a clear proof that the Portuguese footwear sector is strongly committed to brace a new wave of growth”.
FOOTure 2020, the strategic plan for the footwear sector, predicted the Portuguese footwear companies intervention in three main strategic axes: internalization and communication; innovation; qualification and regeneration. Regarding the investments, the ‘Internalization and Communication’ axe represents 57.4% of the companies’ investments, worth 54.3 million euros, followed by ‘Innovation’, representing 34.2% (32.3 million euros) and ‘Qualification and Regeneration’ with 8.4% (8 million euros).
At the same time FOOTure 2020 is being implemented, the program FOOTure 4.0 was recently launched with the goal of enabling the industry with technology. The investments for this projects project have a share of 30.3 million euros, having the axe of ‘Smart Production’ currently an approved investment of 16.2 million euros.
To Leandro de Melo, “the investment has evolved appropriately and according to the parameters suggested by experts”. In practical terms, “efficient innovation, which generates value, has to cover three fundamental parameters: creativity; knowledge; and marketing”. In other words, more familiar to the sector, “it’s necessary to combine design with features and product marketing”.
This is what the cluster has been doing and keeps doing: “to conceive new collections, with fashion and design, and presenting them in the main fairs worldwide”. Simultaneously, “it invests in marketing and communication in the target markets and the more receptive niches to the Portuguese footwear acquisition”, states Leandro de Melo. According to the director of CTCP (Portuguese Footwear Technology Center), the sector has been equally reinforcing “the investments in improving the industrial organization and optimization of manufacturing processes, therefore guarantying that Portugal continues to be an industry of excellence worldwide”. The development of new materials and processes that allow the production of new types of footwear with adequate features to today’s consumers, who are sensitive to ecological, sustainable, biodegradable and with reduced carbon footprint is other key area of the sector’s investment.
“It’s no surprise the majority of companies actively participate in international fairs and marketing actions concerning external markets (57% of the investment), neither that a significant number of companies invests in new equipments and industrial technologies to improve competitiveness and increase flexibility (34% of the total investment)”. Finally, for CTCP’s director, “it’s relevant that the leading companies that produce new materials and the manufacturers of equipment’s goods associate themselves to universities, technological centers and footwear companies by creating broad consortiums responsible for the execution of investigation projects and sectorial developments”.