While sourcing costs are continuing to rise, the pace of the rise is slowing, according to a new report published by the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America.
The association’s 2013 Footwear Sourcing Forecast found that production costs for a pair of shoes increased 5.7 percent in 2012, following a jump of 10.2 percent in 2011. And while imports to the U.S. were down slightly in 2012 — 0.4 percent below 2011 figures — they are projected to grow in the coming years. Overall footwear imports, which totaled $23.4 billion in 2012, are expected to reach $29.6 billion by 2017.
The study also found that China, after years of losing market share as a footwear-production hub, is again gaining momentum.
“Far from continuing to move away from China, footwear imports from China are up 2 percent this year, after stabilizing its output last year,” FDRA President Matt Priest said in a statement. “We also saw some major gains in nontraditional footwear-producing countries, so it seems that there are an increasing number of sourcing options for companies to consider.”
Priest said he hoped the study will give footwear companies additional tools to help them make their sourcing decisions. “[The] 2013 sourcing forecast will certainly challenge conventional thinking in the industry and help footwear companies think more critically about current and future sourcing issues,” he said. “It will also give them the data and analysis they need to increase their competitiveness, even in an uncertain environment.”