Where do shoes come from?
The recent developments on the trade war US-China made us look into the trade relations of both countries in terms of footwear and curious conclusions about consumption in each of the markets arose.
According to the World Footwear Yearbook, in 2017, three countries represented more than 40% of the global footwear consumption: China, India and the US. However, the reality of the footwear industry in these markets is quite distinctive.China, the main consumer market of footwear, is also the major producer and exporter.
In fact, this Asian country represented in 2017 almost 58% of the worldwide production (13 523 million pairs of shoes) and holds an overwhelming position as the leader of the footwear manufacturing industry. At the same time, China is the number one exporter, with a share in global trade that overcomes 65%, despite the continuous decline registered in their share in the last 5 years. Many of these shoes, sold by China overseas, end up in the shelves of the US stores, as we will see.In fact, the US, third largest consumer market in the world, has barely no production of shoes (25 million pairs in 2017) and imports almost all of footwear sold inside borders. China is, undoubtedly the main source of the footwear sold in the US, notwithstanding Chinese imports have fallen by some 3 billion dollars over the last 5 years (roughly to the same level that imports from Vietnam have increased).
A different scenario takes place in India, the second largest consumer of footwear. With an industry accounting for 10.2% of the global production, which positions India as the second largest producer of footwear, its participation in the global trade arena is limited. India accounts for only 1.3% of the total footwear exports, and almost all of the national production is aiming at a gigantic domestic market of 1.3 billion people (imports of footwear by India reached 265 million pairs in 2017, mainly coming from China).