U.S. footwear imports in 2012 slipped 0.4 percent year-over-year, although they are predicted to rise from $23.4 billion in 2012 to $29.6 billion in 2017, according to the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America’s second Annual Footwear Sourcing Forecast.
After years of loss of market share, China has begun to stabilize as a source, providing 84 percent of all U.S. imported shoes in 2012, although continued gradual declines are expected. Vietnam accounted for 8 percent of all footwear imports in 2012, but the report noted that by 2017, 14 percent of all U.S. imports by value and 12 percent by volume will come from the Southeast Asian nation.
“Far from continuing to move away from China, footwear imports from China are up 2 percent this year after stabilizing its output last year,” said Matt Priest, FDRA’s president, in a written statement. “We also saw some major gains in non-traditional footwear producing countries, so it seems that there are an increasing amount of sourcing options for companies to consider.”
Additionally, the average price of a pair of shoes rose 5.7 percent year-over-year in 2012, following a 10.2 percent increase in 2011, cracking the $10 threshold for the first time, the report said.
“Footwear sourcing challenges remain a major concern for the industry in terms of higher prices, shortages in labor, increased compliance costs and unstable consumer demand,” said Greg Tunney, chairman of FDRA and president and CEO of R.G. Barry Brands.