7 Global Trends Shaping the Footwear Industry’s Future Consumer

Who will be the footwear industry’s consumer in 2030? A consumer influenced by sustainability, fashion and the rising cost of labor and leather, according to World Footwear, a research initiative of Portuguese Footwear, Components and Leather Goods Manufacturers’ Association (APICCAPS).

In a report, “Footwear Consumer 2030: Incorporating Global Trends to Foresight Footwear Market,” World Footwear examined global economic, social, demographic and cultural trends and how each will shape the buying habits of footwear consumers worldwide.

From social media to the aging of a key demographic, here are seven factors changing the footwear industry’s future consumer.

Emerging Markets

With the US and EU spending growth slowed by recessions, China and other Asian countries will have to rely less on exports for economic growth and more on their domestic markets. As a result, a greater share of the global growth of consumer spending will take place in emerging markets and companies must be prepared to accommodate these new customers.

Luxury brands have been some of the first to react to the shift in consumer spending markets. For example, the study examined Ferragamo and Prada, two luxury footwear brands that are seeing significant growth in Asia. As of June 30, 2015, the Asia Pacific market represented 37.8% of Ferragamo’s total revenue for the year. Meanwhile, in 2013 Prada opened 27 new stores in the region, or approximately 35 percent of the brand’s total new stores worldwide that year.

Footwear brands will also have to cater to a stronger middle class. By 2030, the majority of the world’s population will be part of the middle class, primarily due to a drop in the amount of people living in extreme poverty. The study referenced a report from Ernst & Young, which estimates the total number of people considered to be middle class to reach 4.8 million by 2030, a 3 billion increase from 2009 when the middle class was 1.8 billion strong.

This influx of new consumers will put pressure on product developers to meet their unfamiliar preferences and needs, the report noted. Developed economies placing their products in emerging markets will also have to adjust their pricing strategies to compete with local low-price manufacturers.

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