Brazilian footwear: 20 years of growing exports to ArabsSep, 18, 2023 Posted by Gabriel Malheiros
In the last 20 years, footwear exports from Brazil to the Arab countries reached a new level. According to data from the Brazilian Footwear Industry Association (Abicalçados), sales to countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) jumped from 2.792 million in 2003 to 3.288 million in 2022, a 17.7% increase. The peak in shipments to the Arabs was in 2014 when 5.856 million pairs were exported. The drop was accentuated amid the pandemic. Since 2022, sales upturned.
According to Abicalçados’ Commercial Promotion analyst Paola Pontin, Brazilian footwear has consolidated itself in the Arab market, whether with its own brands or through private labels (when a company produces to order from a specific brand), they can compete with Asian products and keep up with fashion trends and particular demands of the region.
Pontin believes the record in exports in 2014 showed the Arab market can absorb a greater volume of Brazilian footwear than exported in recent years. In 2014, export revenues were also record-breaking: USD 58.2 million. In 2003, sales totaled USD 17.3 million. Last year, they reached USD 28.3 million.
“Over the last 20 years, the sector has modernized, employed new technologies, and invested in automation, which helped Brazil consolidate itself as the leading producer in the West. We also evolved a lot in exports during this period,” said Pontin. Evolution can also be observed, assessed Pontin, in the diversification of production hubs. If, in the past, this industry was concentrated in the South of Brazil and part of São Paulo, now cities across the country, in the South, Southeast, and even Northeast, are also hubs. “This is great because it boosts the economy and creates jobs,” she said.
Over these 20 years, the footwear industry has also identified particular customer demands, including Arabs. “We saw there was no event for the industry. We realized customers would like to come to Brazil, so we encouraged them to come, brought customers, created a specific schedule, and conducted plant visits. It is an initiative that brought results, creating an image of Brazil,” said Pontin. This does not mean, however, that companies do not participate in shows. One of these participations is scheduled for November.
Year to date through August, the main buyers of Brazilian footwear were the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Morocco. In general, said Pontin, Arab customers follow fashion trends when buying shoes. Pairs of sneakers and comfortable shoes are two demands of the moment. Due to the use of veils, Arab women value shoes and bags that stand out, so they look for high-heeled shoes. In addition, men and women appreciate leather shoes. And, among men, sandals are also widely sold. And Brazil, said Pontin, manages to deliver diversity and competitive prices to these customers.
The chart below displays shipments of footwear (hs 6400-6406) from Brazil to some of the main destinations mentioned above between January 2019 and July 2023, according to the DataLiner maritime intelligence service.
Footwear exports to Arab countries | Jan 2019 – Jul 2023 | TEU
“We see enormous potential among the Arab countries; we need to take advantage and return to the level we already had by placing Brazil as a major producer to consolidate further,” said Pontin.
To read the original news article, see: https://anba.com.br/en/brazilian-footwear-20-years-of-growing-exports-to-arabs/
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