Footwear exports to the US set for tough year

Thursday, Jun 11, 2020 21:24

Footwear products are made at a plant of Dong Hung Footwear Group in Binh Duong Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Quach Lam

Footwear exports to the US have been forecast to struggle in the remaining months of this year due to falling demand, though it recorded a 10 per cent increase in revenue in the first quarter of the year.

Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America President Matt Priest was quoted by Cong Thuong (Industry and Trade) online newspaper as saying that the COVID-19 pandemic caused unemployment in the US to rise and income to fall, hurting consumption.

Demand for footwear products in the US saw declines in January-May and the downward trend was forecast to continue for the remaining months of this year, he said.

He cited statistics that footwear sales in the US dropped by nearly 30 per cent in March against the same period last year while footwear imports fell to the lowest level since March, 2017. Viet Nam’s footwear exports to the US decreased by nearly 20 per cent in April.

He forecast it would be difficult to see a significant increase in Viet Nam’s footwear exports to the US in the rest of this year. However, a decrease would not be likely.

Still, there were opportunities for Vietnamese footwear producers to expand exports in the US.

From 2003 to date, he said that while the US’s footwear imports from other countries saw downward trends, imports from Viet Nam increased.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, the global supply chain was being rebuilt with a trend of moving out of China. Figures showed China accounted for 90 per cent of the US’ footwear market 12 years ago but now its market share was reduced to 7 per cent and importers tended to look for more supply sources from Viet Nam.

Diep Thanh Kiet, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association, said that it was a difficult time for Viet Nam’s footwear exports to the US due to low demand.

The US market also has high requirements about corporate social responsibility and environmental protection in footwear production, Kiet said, urging producers to pay attention to these requirements to expand exports to the US.

Kiet also said that producers must focus on designs and quality to satisfy consumers’ tastes.

Despite the pandemic, Viet Nam’s footwear exports to the US rose 10 per cent to reach US$1.56 billion in revenue in the first quarter of this year.

The US was the largest footwear export market of Viet Nam with revenue of $6.65 billion in 2019, a year-on-year increase of 14.2 per cent.

Viet Nam exported $18.3 billion worth of footwear products in total last year, up 12.8 per cent against 2018. Made-in-Viet Nam footwear products were present in more than 100 countries worldwide.

The country hopes to earn $20 billion from footwear exports this year. — VNS

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