More than 90 Portuguese companies will take part in the biggest international footwear fair from Sunday to Wednesday in Milan, at a time when the sector wants to “reposition itself” to affirm itself in foreign markets.
“Portugal will be the second largest foreign delegation in what is the most important and prestigious footwear fair in the world, soon after Spain,” said the Portuguese Association of Footwear, Components, Leather Goods and Their Substitutes (APICCAPS). which organizes the Portuguese participation in Micam.
The more than nine dozen Portuguese companies that go to Milan account for more than 8,000 jobs and about 500 million euros of exports and receive, on the first day of the fair, on Sunday, the visit of the Deputy Minister and Economy, Pedro Vieira da Silva, and the Secretary of State for Economy, João Correia Neves.
The participation in Micam is taking place at a time when Portuguese footwear is forecasting 2019 as “a year of affirmation in foreign markets“, during which the sector intends to invest, with the support of the Compete Program, more than 18 million euros in promotional activities in the within the framework of the “big priorities” to “increase sales abroad, diversify the destination markets and the range of exporting companies“.
Of these, 16 million euros will be channelled to the participation of 200 companies in about 60 of the main events of the speciality, in more than 15 markets, highlighting Germany, Spain, France and Italy, in Europe, and to Japan and USA, among non-EU countries.
The remaining EUR 2 million related to the promotion of brands in “critical areas” such as the design and registration of trademarks and patents, investment in advertising, the contracting of foreign communications advisory services and the production of image campaigns.
This renewed bet on foreign markets happens after, in 2018, the growth of 2.4% of footwear exports in volume to 85 million pairs was not enough to avoid a 2.85% drop in value, to 1,904 million euros.
According to the association, “the slowdown of the main world economies where the Portuguese footwear industry exports more than 95% of its production will have affected the sector and contributed to the final performance“, and “recently the International Monetary Fund in low growth prospects for 2018 and has proved less optimistic for 2019. ”
The impact of the US-China trade war, the slowdown in the European economy and the crisis in several emerging markets are – it recalls – the main reasons for the cut of the estimates made by the entity led by Christine Lagarde.
According to APICCAPS, in 2018 “the same bittersweet sentiment” was experienced by the two major competitors in Portugal, “Italy and Spain: If by August Italian footwear exports increased by 37% in value (to 6.5 billion euros), the fact is that they fell by 3.1% in volume (to 143.6 million pairs), while Spain recorded 3.6% in value and 1% in volume in September (to 2,018 million euros and 122.7 million pairs)”.
In this comparison with Italy and Spain, the association stresses that “year after year consistently, Portuguese footwear continues to accelerate the pace and ‘hit’ the competition: From 2010 to 2017 the Portuguese footwear production increased by 34 In the same period, Spain grew by only 7% (to 102 million pairs), while Italy, the great competitor of Portugal, decreased production by 6% to 191 million pairs “, he maintains .
According to the association, also in the field of exports “the approximation of Portugal to Italy is perceptible“, since if Italian sales abroad increased 19% (to 10 billion dollars, about 8.8 billion euros) , the Portuguese rose 23% to 2.2 billion dollars (more than 1,9 billion euros) in 2017, when they reached an “absolute record“.