Rising costs, including higher labor costs in China, will continue to trouble the footwear market, however, the report doesn’t foresee a major shift to move production near shore. The study cites the World Footwear Yearbook, which reported near-to-market production increased just one percent in the US during the last five years.
One thing that is certain, however, is leather’s increasing costs affecting footwear sales and product mix. For example, the report says the price of rubber and plastic shoes grew 2.7% from 2003-2013. During the same period, leather footwear prices increased 7.5%. Consumers will adjust to higher costs by buying fewer pairs of leather shoes, and by seeking ways to extend the life of shoes they already own—which the report says may benefit shoe care products companies and repair business, like New York City-based Leather Spa.