Footwear exports show positive signs in initial months

Data released by the General Statistics Office (GSO) shows that in January, footwear exports reached US$1.85 billion, an annual rise of 35%.

In 2023, although the growth rate dropped by about 10% compared to 2022, with Vietnamese footwear export output being second only to China, and estimated to account for 10% of the global market share and be present across 150 markets.

According to details given by Phan Thi Thanh Xuan, vice chairwoman and general secretary of the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association (LEFASO), in terms of export markets the leather and footwear industry still focuses on five major markets, with the US accounting for the largest proportion of about 35%, the EU at 26%, followed by Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK).

China alone currently makes up 9% of the proportion, with the turnover increasing. This is also a key market in terms of helping the leather and footwear industry have ample room for greater export growth ahead in 2024.

According to the analysis of many experts, this year major economies are also potential export markets for the Vietnamese leather and footwear industry to prosper.

Furthermore, the country has a number of significant competitive advantages compared to others that produce and export footwear and handbags.

Specifically, 15 free trade agreements (FTAs) have been signed with short tax reduction roadmaps which continue to support domestic footwear businesses in developing their markets, while a high-quality labour force with more than 30 years of footwear manufacturing skills and the reputation of the “Made in Vietnam” footwear brand has been affirmed.

These factors have helped the nation’s leather and footwear industry create a basis to improve turnover and regain its export growth momentum.

In line with this, besides markets with FTAs, this year will see the leather and footwear industry continue to expand and diversify markets, with a specific focus on maintaining traditional markets such as the US and the EU due to major purchasing power and capacity.

Xuan recommended that local businesses participate in better network activities in order to capture information, devise better preparation plans to be able to successfully meet the requirements, and engage more deeply in supply chains.

Additionally, firms need to apply digital transformation in management as a way of continuously helping leaders update information and make timely decisions.

“The Lefaso will be an intermediary unit to help businesses access financial resources to have cash flow to stabilize production and business. It will also support businesses in innovating, applying science and technology, and approaching programs supported by international organizations to improve management and technical capacity to meet the increasing standards of export markets,” Xuan added.