Portuguese shoe industry offers ‘alternative to Italy’


By reducing costs or developing new market segments, Portugal could become a major player in the luxury footwear sector, according to EY Parthenon.

The Portuguese footwear, components and leather goods sector currently employs around 40,000 people and exports 90% of its goods to 173 countries.

Miguel Cardoso Pinto, partner at EY Parthenon, said increased competition and rising costs both pose threats to the footwear sector.

The consultancy said Portugal has “several comparative advantages” over Italy, which dominates the luxury footwear industry but is currently “threatened by high production costs, a market dominated by middlemen and a lack of skilled labor”.

While both Portugal and Italy were found to offer high quality shoe production, Portugal offered lower production costs.

GlobalData’s footwear market data shows that the global footwear market is expected to reach $403.9 billion in 2026, up from $371.1 billion in 2024.

EY Parthenon forecast that luxury footwear, which currently makes up 8% of the sector, will grow 4.1% per year through 2028.

In a study entitled ‘The footwear industry’s route to luxury’, EY Parthenon states that reducing costs and developing new market segments are key for Portugal to position itself as a “relevant player in the luxury footwear sector”.

EY Parthenon also suggested that Portugal could increase its productivity using new ‘industrial processes’ and optimize labor costs, while also reducing raw material costs through innovative products.

Stringent ESG standards and top quality products were also seen as key to breaking into the luxury footwear sector.

The consultancy added: “Exploring segments with greater potential for added value, entering new regions and optimizing new stages of the supply chain are three possible paths to a more competitive future.”

The President of the Portuguese Association of Footwear, Components and Leather Goods Manufacturers – APICCAPS – Luis Onofre said: “We want to be an important international reference. 24 billion pairs of shoes are produced every year, about 90% of which are produced in Asia, meaning nine out of ten people wear Asian shoes. We do not think this is sustainable, on the contrary, we think there is room in the market for players like Portugal.”

In March 2024, the European Clothing and Textile Confederation launched Aequalis-4-TCLFan EU co-financed project aimed at promoting further training and reskilling within the textile, clothing, leather and footwear sectors.

“In data: Portuguese shoe industry offers ‘alternative to Italy’” was originally created and published by Simply stylea brand owned by GlobalData.

The information on this site has been included in good faith for general information purposes only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which reliance should be placed and we make no representation, warranty or guarantee, express or implied, as to its accuracy or completeness. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking or refraining from any action on the basis of the content on our site.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top