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China’s Footwear Market Share Tumbles 8.5% Amid $5B Category Step-Down

U.S. footwear imports have fallen 25.9 percent in the first nine months of 2020 to a value of $14.53 billion compared to $19.61 billion in the same period last year, according to the Commerce Department’s Office of Textile & Apparel (OTEXA).

Top supplier China has experienced the steepest decline, with shipments dropping a year-to-date 38.7 percent to $5.94 billion through September. China now holds a 40.9 percent market share in value terms compared to 49.4 percent a year earlier, OTEXA data showed.

Footwear imports from No. 2 supplier Vietnam were down just 0.67 percent to $4.77 billion in the period. Vietnam’s market share in the category stood at a year-to-date 32.8 percent compared to a share of 26.1 percent in the year-ago period. Despite sourcing fluctuations, China and Vietnam now account for a 73.7 percent market share of U.S. imports, with no other country accounting for even 10 percent.

Among the second tier of suppliers, only Cambodia has notched an increase in imports so far this year, with shipments up 0.89 percent to $367.83 million. Rounding out the top five suppliers, imports from Indonesia were down 18.1 percent to $1.04 billion, and shipments from Italy fell 22.6 percent to $887.96 million.

In year-over-year comparisons, U.S. footwear imports fell sharply in September volume and value terms to the lowest September in 11 years, due to the combined impact from the coronavirus and from continued high duty costs, the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America (FDRA) said in its monthly analysis.

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The volume of footwear imported in the month declined a year-over-year -14.8 percent, down for the 13th straight month. A 18.9 percent drop in shipments from China outpaced a 2 percent decline Vietnam, while imports from the rest of the world fell 13.5 percent, the seventh straight double-digit drop, FDRA said.

The value of total footwear imports also fell in September, off 15.7 percent from a year earlier, also lower for the 13th straight month.

“Duties remain problematic for the industry, reaching $248.8 million in September,” FDRA said. “Trump duties applied against footwear from China remain the key culprit behind the jump in duties per pair the last several months. FDRA expects full-year average duties per pair from the world could climb to a record high of $1.54 in 2020, up around 15 percent from last year.”

Imports of women’s footwear plummeted a year-over-year 27.8 percent to the lowest September volume in 17 years, while men’s imports declined 22.7 percent to the lowest September since 2016 as shipments from China, Vietnam, and Indonesia all retreated sharply.

“On balance, given the broad-based September losses, lingering Trump tariffs and coronavirus fallout on both sides of the Pacific, we maintain our view that full-year shipments will retreat sharply in 2020, while duties may retreat relatively modestly from last year’s record $3.3 billion,” FDRA added.