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Level of US footwear imports still growing

The value of footwear imported into the USA increased to $23.7 billion in 2012, according to the US International Trade Commission – a growth of 5 per cent over the 2011 figure. This organisation also reports that footwear exports from the USA fell by 1 per cent to $824 million.

Last year, imports of footwear made up over 95 per cent of the domestic demand, almost three-quarters of which were shipped in from China. Nevertheless, a number of other Asian producers – particularly Vietnam and Indonesia – are reporting a steadily increase in their share of the US market. In addition, Italian shoemakers are continuing to be important suppliers to the high-end US market, their export figures growing 8 per cent compared with 2011.

Although exports by US footwear manufacturers declined slightly from a peak of $832 million in 2011, the total for 2012 was still the second-highest figure reported during the past five years. Exports to Canada (the largest single nation market for the US and accounting for 14 per cent of exports) reportedly increased by 24 per cent to $116 million.

The amount that consumers spent on footwear was boosted by 5 per cent between 2011 and 2012. This growth was primarily due to higher retail prices, caused by rising materials, labour and transportation costs being passed on to the shopper. In the five years between 2007 and 2012, the number of workers engaged in the US footwear sector is said to have dropped from 15,761 to 11,581.

Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 6 of the November 2013 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

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