Portuguese Footwear Industry Surpasses Spain to Secure Second Place in Europe With 85 Million Pairs

Portugal's footwear industry triumphs, surpassing Spain to secure second place in European production.
Portuguese Footwear Industry

In a remarkable achievement, the Portuguese footwear industry has surpassed Spain to claim the coveted title of the second-largest footwear producer in Europe. According to recent data released by Eurostat and corroborated by the Portuguese Association of Footwear, Components, Leather Goods and Related Products (APICCAPS), Portugal manufactured an impressive 85 million pairs of shoes in 2022, outstripping its Spanish counterparts by two million pairs.

Over the past decade, Portugal has witnessed a substantial increase in footwear production, marking a commendable 14.4% increase from 74 million pairs to the current 85 million pairs. In stark contrast, Spain has experienced a significant decline of 14% during the same period, with production plummeting from 97 million pairs to 83 million pairs.

The only contender ahead of Portugal is Italy, although its dominance has been steadily diminishing in favor of Portugal. Italy, once a powerhouse in footwear production, has seen a notable setback with an 18.6% decline since 2012, culminating in 162 million pairs manufactured in 2022, a considerable drop from 199 million pairs a decade earlier.

APICCAPS underscores Portugal’s unparalleled resilience by affirming that it is the sole country in Europe to witness a increase in footwear production. Consequently, Portugal’s share of European footwear production has increased by an impressive 34.3%, accounting for 17.1% of the total output.

Luís Onofre, the esteemed president of APICCAPS and a distinguished designer, attributes this monumental achievement to the unwavering commitment of the Portuguese footwear sector. He emphasizes the sector’s strategic investments and adept public policies, which have bolstered its competitive edge on the global stage.

In Onofre’s words, “Despite the intricacies of economic cycles, we remain steadfast in our belief in the future of our industry.” He underscores the sector’s confidence by revealing ambitious investment plans, including €140 million earmarked for completion by next year as part of the Plan for Recovery and Resilience (PRR). Moreover, a staggering €600 million investment is slated by the end of the decade under the new Strategic Plan, signaling a resounding vote of confidence in the industry’s trajectory.

  • Italy hosts 6,381 registered footwear companies, experiencing a decline of 25.8% over the past decade.
  • Spain follows suit with 2,808 companies, witnessing a decrease of 16.1% since 2012,
  • While Portugal boasts 2,428 registered companies, marking a modest decline of 5%.

Collectively, these three countries command nearly 70% of European footwear production, further solidifying their dominance in the global market.

Despite the resounding success, Portuguese footwear exports witnessed a slight downturn in 2023, experiencing an 11.3% decrease in quantity and an 8.2% decline in value compared to the record-breaking figures of 2022. Notably, 66 million pairs of shoes were exported, generating revenues of €1.84 billion.

APICCAPS attributes this decline to the prevailing international economic slowdown, particularly in key markets such as Germany, France, and the USA, which have significantly impacted the footwear sector’s performance abroad.

In conclusion, Portugal’s ascension to the second-largest footwear producer in Europe stands as a testament to its unwavering commitment to innovation, resilience, and strategic investment. As the industry navigates through economic uncertainties, its steadfast determination and forward-looking strategies position it favorably for sustained growth and global leadership in the years to come.

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