Aruba, Honduras, Mauritania, Nepal or Uzbekistan. These are just five of the new destinations of the Portuguese footwear. In the last decade, the Portuguese footwear exports have reached 43 new markets. At the moment, Portugal exports, per year, over 80 million pairs of shoes to 163 countries. In the same period, exports have increased 47% to 1904 million euros. However, there is new data to be considered.
In 2008, France (345 million euros in exports), Germany (263 million euros), the Netherlands (159 million euros), the UK (127 million euros) and Spain (123 million euros) were the five most relevant markets for the Portuguese footwear. Overall, Europe represented over 92% of the Portuguese footwear exports. A decade later, the scenario changed significantly. Although France, Germany and the Netherlands remain the main reference markets, the overseas markets (represented 14% of exports in 2018) are now the driving force for the growth of the Portuguese footwear. Overseas exports increased 177% (practically doubled its relative weight) in the last decade, and markets such as the USA (536% growth to 70 million euros by the end of 2018), Canada (367% growth to 31 million euros), Russia (90% growth to 28 million euros) and China (1105% growth to 23 million euros) have become the promise of a better future for the Portuguese footwear.
In volume, the exports increase is less expressive but not less important. In 2018, Portugal exported 83.8 million pairs of shoes, over 29.6% more than a decade before.
For that to be possible, it’s important to highlight the growth of the number of companies in the last decade: 4.9% to 1476 companies. The number of workers has also increased 11.9% to 39.603 collaborators in 2018. From 2008 to 2018, were created approximately 400 thousand new jobs per year, only within the footwear industry. The numbers are even more expressive if the whole cluster is considered, namely in the footwear components’ sector (35% growth to 5514 employees) and in leather goods (over 48% to 1871 workers), in which were created over 2000 new jobs.
Still in the foreign trade context, it’s important to highlight the leather goods and saddlery sector. In a decade, overseas sales have tripled (from 51 to 153 million euros), with Spain (55 million), France (34 million) and Italy (7 million) as the reference markets.
The footwear components’ sector also strengthen its internationalization process with sales ascending to 54 million euros by the end of 2018 (20% growth in a decade). Germany (11.6 million euros), France (10.4 million) and Spain (9.5 million) are the main destinations.