The future of the global footwear market is estimated to be bright as it has been growing steadily and is expected to earn unmatched returns due to high sales forecast in the years to come. Some of the prominent growth drivers of this industry are the wide assortment of products, building up of athletic habits among the target market (inspired by sporting events like the European Football Championships and the Summer Olympic Games) and increased brand and fashion consciousness among men and children (along with the already fashion conscious segment of women consumers) purchasing footwear.
The sports footwear segment of the footwear market has been outdoing all other segments in terms of growth as more and more people understand the importance of staying fit because of the many health problems plaguing us today. This is apparent in the increased sales in the sports footwear market. Consumers have noticeably started preferring “console” over “style” and this is set to drive product innovation in the footwear market.
Germany is one of the largest markets and also one of the most lucrative ones in Europe for footwear and it comes as no surprise that many global companies are targeting it for commercial ventures in the footwear market.
However, the pressures of Brexit (which has put the burden of leading the European Union into prosperity on the shoulders of Germany) coupled with other difficulties faced by Germany such as integration of old East Germany, have taken a toll on the domestic production of footwear in Germany. This has translated into many local companies shifting operations to other countries and Germany having to import majority of footwear from abroad e.g. Salamander, which is Germany’s footwear giant, has had to reduce production on domestic territory to a very small proportion of its total goods manufactured and then sold in Germany and shift production to other countries. According to analysts, manufacturers of footwear in Germany are resorting increasingly to re-export.
The volume imports of footwear have been consistently increasing every year in Germany so much so that the German government has started the practice of assessing loss of German footwear industry due to dumping of foreign imports which are much cheaper e.g. Nike and Reebok’s recent attempt to flood the sports footwear market in Germany by buying huge surpluses of footwear stock and selling then at big discounts.
As a result of the German footwear market being saturated by other country imports (mainly from Italy), the German manufacturers who remain have diverted their attention to export markets.
According to the report titled “Footwear in Germany”, the market for footwear in Germany has recorded a decline of 1% in both volume and current value terms in 2016. The report attributes this to unfavorable weather conditions, mismanaged portfolios and a reduction in customer footfall. Based on the natural weather conditions in Germany, the winter was mild, the spring too rainy and not warm enough and the summer started late. However, in many cases, store-based and even online portfolios were in line with traditional seasons, which deterred many consumers from purchasing new footwear.
A popular trend in recent years is a fall in sales of leather street shoes, slippers and office shoes and a rise in sports shoes. Macroeconomic factors such as increased life expectancy of Germans are increasing the demand for comfort in footwear market with antiquated and eye-catching designs. Another interesting trend is the emergence of footwear made using environmentally safe and natural raw material as an increasing number of German consumers become environmentally conscientious.
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