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The Number of Shoes Sold This Year Is Expected to Plunge — Here’s How Much

The coronavirus pandemic has had a seismic effect on economies around the world — and the shoe industry has not been immune to the impact.

According to a new survey by World Footwear, global footwear consumption this year is expected to decline 22.5% — a reduction of 5.1 billion pairs of shoes bought by consumers — as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, which has infected more than 1.93 million people around the world and killed at least 120,900.

The majority of members of World Footwear’s expert panel, whose insights paint the picture for the global shoe industry, believe that the quantity of footwear sold will fall and prices of shoes will decrease. Perspectives are particularly negative in Europe, where member panelists anticipate a 27% drop in footwear consumption, or about 908 million pairs. North America and Asia are expected to see a 21% dip, equivalent to 696 million pairs, and 20%, or 2.4 billion pairs, respectively.

Beyond footwear, consumer prices as a whole are declining as the coronavirus suppresses demand for certain goods and services. In the U.S., the Labor Department on Friday reported that the consumer price index posted its largest decline in five years for the month of March, when a nationwide lockdown led to a plunge in the costs of gasoline, hotel accommodations, airline tickets and apparel.

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It remains to be seen whether consumers will be able to return to pre-coronavirus shopping habits following months of disruption and panic buying. Several industry insiders and market watchers have suggested that the brick-and-mortar shutdown in the U.S. could continue for another two months and could potentially add up to big losses across the board.

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