(Italian Footwear Manufacturers’ Association)
In office until 2027

Milan March 8, 2024 - Sustainability, digitalization, innovation, Made in Italy, and tertiary as drivers for the development of the sector, with a focus on training to make footwear an attractive sector for young people. These are the guidelines until June 2027, of Giovanna Ceolini, who was confirmed as President of Assocalzaturifici by the Assembly of members that met yesterday.

With more than 450 member companies, the Association, nationally represents companies of an industrial nature operating in the footwear manufacturing sector.

"It is indeed with great emotion," Ceolini comments, "that I face this mandate of mine. We have a challenging job ahead of us. We have to respond to a conjuncture that is not easy, in a geopolitical framework dominated by uncertainty, with initiatives and projects that support our companies in international markets. Today, more than ever, it is important to put the interests of the industry, and therefore our Association, back at the center. We can do this by returning to frank and constructive dialogue and confrontation. In this I will not be alone, but supported by a team composed of professionals of undoubted value." Joining the President were Giuseppe Baiardo, Vice President for Training and Orientation, Luisa Benigno, Vice President for Business Culture and Productive Strategies, Giuseppe Camerlengo Vice President for International Affairs, and Valentino Fenni Vice President for Russia, C.S.I. Area and Made in Italy.

Ceolini, highlighted the most salient aspects of her program, from internationalization, to the promotion of Made in Italy footwear in the world, consolidating mature markets and seeking new opportunities in emerging ones, to the collaboration with the main technical institutes and professional schools to encourage generational turnover. Other objectives include the enhancement of third-party companies, better known as CDMOs (contract development and manufacturing organizations), to defend the traditional craftsmanship of Italian manufacturing. Profuse support is also given to trade fair policies starting with MICAM Milan, the world's most important event in the sector. Among the projects in the pipeline are the reorganization of the pavilions, the strengthening of the MICAMX area, with a focus on seminar content, the section dedicated to the retail of the future, communication and events. There will be no shortage of consolidation of CIMAC, a laboratory specializing in testing for the footwear and fashion industry, which ensures product quality and excellence and compliance with global standards. In fact a support to companies, in an increasingly complex regulatory framework, through testing and certification services. And then, development of VCS - Verified and Certified Steps, the first sustainability certification mark for the footwear industry. A scheme that sensitizes companies to the adoption of a comprehensive sustainability strategy by working on internal processes, supply chain traceability, information collection and organization with a system of procedures for improvement and advancement against the most widespread international sustainability parameters and standards.


The domestic market remained steady (-1.3% household spending). Further deceleration is expected in the final figures.

Italy’s footwear sector grew moderately in the first nine months of 2023, registering an increase in both turnover (+3% according to a survey of a sample of members) and exports by value (+3.2%) compared to the same period in the previous year. This is the snapshot provided by the Confindustria Moda Research Centre for Assocalzaturifici, which however reveals a drop in the volume of sales. After bouncing back in the previous two years, the number of pairs sold abroad began to fall once again (-8.7% on January-September 2022), as did sales on the Italian market (-3.1%), with the ISTAT index of industrial production down by -7.4%. The setback in the third quarter weighed heavily on results, closing with -7.2% in foreign sales in terms of value (-12.3% in terms of quantity) and -1.5% in household spending within Italy.

According to Giovanna Ceolini, Chair of Assocalzaturifici, "After a very positive start, 2023 closed with a downward slide, partly due to major increases in costs affecting companies’ profit margins. Once the post-Covid rebound was over, the pace of sales slowed markedly, beginning as early as the Spring and becoming even more obvious in the third quarter of the year. This widely expected trend was definitely not facilitated by the uncertainty of the difficult international geopolitical scenario, when, in addition to the war between Russia and Ukraine, events in the Middle East came to a head, with a real risk of the conflict spreading, in addition to the weakness of the economy in several important areas of the world.”

The report shows how, among the main foreign markets, EU markets performed best overall, growing 8.5% in value despite a -6.1% drop in volume over January-September 2022, while non-EU destinations showed an even heavier setback in terms of quantity (-13.4%), accompanied by a negative sign in value (-1.2%).
Alongside the resilience of France (+1% in volume and +17.1% in value), there was a strong contraction (-32.4% in pairs and -22.5% in value) in flows to Switzerland, traditionally a logistics hub for the fashion multinationals (which have, at least to some extent, replaced transit through Swiss warehouses with direct shipments to their final destination markets). Sales declined significantly in the third quarter (with a drop of more than -20%) in the USA (which registered a decline of -21.7% in terms of quantity and -7.4% in terms of value in the first nine months) and in Germany (-16.6% in number of pairs, though stable in value). Sales in China continued to perform well (+17.2% in volume and +12.2% in value), despite a downturn in value in the third quarter (though the average price per pair, above 200 euro, remains by far the highest). Russia and Ukraine continued to recover (+40% and +88% in value respectively over January-September 2022), although sales in these two markets still remain below pre-war levels.

On the domestic front, moreover, while 2023 saw increased tourism, with positive repercussions on shopping by foreign visitors to Italy, footwear purchases by Italian households showed a lacklustre trend, closing the first nine months with negative signs (both in pairs, -3.1%, and in expenditure, -1.3%) compared to the same period in 2022 and, above all, about 5% below the pre-pandemic levels of 2019, already largely unsatisfactory after years of continuous erosion. The abnormally warm weather of autumn, with almost spring-like temperatures, discouraged purchases of winter clothing and shoes.

Finally, the process of natural selection among companies has not ceased (-148 companies, between industry and crafts, in the first nine months, i.e. -3.9%), despite the fact that employment is holding up (+2.1%, although still about a thousand employees below 2019 levels). Increased use of wage support in the leather industry (+6.1%) is, however, a discouraging sign.

Assocalzaturifici Chair Ceolini, took the opportunity offered by the presentation of the figures on performance of the footwear sector to discuss the final approval of the “Made in Italy” bill and the 2024 Budget: "I am satisfied with these measures, which provide for the enhancement and promotion of strategic assets for relaunching the economy and employment in the country, such as protection of supply chains through the “Made in Italy” sovereign fund and support for international trade fairs. I see these as two indispensable tools for enhancing the value of our country's manufacturing SMEs and boosting their competitiveness on international markets. Like the Digital Transition Fund, which in our case is also relevant considering the commitment and leading role of Assocalzaturifici in environmental certification through the VCS mark. I also approve the increase in resources allocated to fighting counterfeiting and “Italian-sounding” names, two phenomena that are detrimental to our products, and the further extension to 30 July 2024 of the deadline for submitting applications for spontaneous repayment of unduly received R&D tax credits. The latter is a thorny issue that is becoming unsustainable for our companies. It is necessary to ensure that the implementing decree for the creation of the registers of accredited certifiers is approved as soon as possible, in order to clearly define what is really to be included in research and development. This is the only solution to protect those who have complied with the rules.”


Giovanna Ceolini, Chair of Assocalzaturifici: “The widely expected slowdown materialised in the second quarter of the current year. The strong rebound of 2021 – after the slump caused by the lockdowns – and the continuation of recovery during 2022 were followed by a marked deceleration, despite a promising start to 2023 for most economic variables”

Despite some shadows, the first half of 2023 closed on a positive note for the Italian footwear industry, recording growth in turnover (+7.4%) and exports (+10.2% in value in the first 5 months). However, volume suffered: -6.8% for exports and -5.7% for production (according to the ISTAT industrial production index). Household spending came to a halt in May and June, after remaining rather stagnant throughout the first half of the year (-1.2% in value and -3.4% in volume). This, in summary, is the picture drawn by the Confindustria Moda Research Centre for Assocalzaturifici just days before MICAM Milano, the international footwear fair taking place at Fiera Milano (Rho) from 17 to 20 September 2023.

According to Assocalzaturifici Chair Giovanna Ceolini: “The widely expected slowdown finally materialised in the second quarter of the current year. The strong rebound of 2021 – after the slump caused by the lockdowns – and the continuation of recovery during 2022 – albeit at an understandably slower pace, as business levels returned to normal – were followed by a marked deceleration, after a promising start to 2023 for most economic variables. In the April-May period, after double-digit increases in the previous months, exports, which have always been the sector’s driving force, showed rather stable values (+1%) and a setback in volume (-14.9%). All the main export destinations recorded increases in value in the first 5 months. The only exceptions were Switzerland – a traditional logistics hub, the country experienced a significant setback, probably due to different distribution strategies adopted by luxury brands, which avoid transiting through the Swiss warehouses – which recorded -13.6% (-29% in terms of number of pairs), the United Kingdom (-2.6%) and Canada (stable at -0.5%, but down sharply in terms of quantity)”.

Despite the recent concerns over the slowdown in the national economy, very encouraging signs have come so far from China (+20.4% in volume and +43.4% in value), where the average price – by far the highest among the main outlet markets for Italian footwear – clearly shows that these figures are linked above all to the performance of the large luxury brands, in a market that is not easy to penetrate for companies with their own brand.

Ceolini continues: “The rebound in Russia and Ukraine is worth noting (+37% and +56% in value, respectively), although it should be borne in mind that the comparison period includes months when the outbreak of the war had caused sales to plummet in the two markets involved. Despite the rebound in 2022, current levels are very close (+1.2%) to those of the first 5 months of 2021, already strongly affected by the pandemic before the war. Finally, the balance of trade, driven by foreign sales, touched 2.5 billion euros (+14.2%) in the first 5 months”.

A closer look at the report reveals that, in the first 5 months of the year, Italian footwear exports stood at 87.9 million pairs, including purely sales operations: 6.4 million fewer pairs compared to January-May 2022 (-6.8%). The average price per pair increased to 62.47 euros, i.e. +18.2%.

If we look at macro geographical areas, both EU countries – to which 2 out of 3 shoes sold abroad are exported – and non-EU destinations show growth in value and a drop in quantity; however, trends are better within the European Union (-4.5% in volume and +14% in value) compared to more distant outlet markets (-10.9% and +7% overall, respectively). Within the EU markets, besides France – which firmly occupies first place in the general export ranking, in terms of both quantity and value, recording +19.6% in value and -2.9% in volume – the main destinations include Germany (fourth, but second in terms of volume, +8.4% in value but -15.5% in quantity), Spain and the Netherlands (with interesting growth in both volume and value), Belgium (with modest increases) and Poland (+10.2% in value but -5.2% in quantity).

North America is slowing down: while substantially holding up in value, the United States and Canada show a fall of more than -20% in pairs. After experiencing difficulties in both 2021 and 2022, the trend was negative also in the UK (-2.6% in value, -13.8% in quantity). On the other hand, an encouraging performance was recorded in the Far East, which grew globally by +29.4% in value and +7.1% in quantity. Positive developments were recorded in the Arab Emirates (+37.7% in value) and Turkey (with increases of over 80% in both volume and value, despite the devaluation of the lira). The breakdown by product category shows mixed performance in terms of value and a general decline in volume – with the exception of slippers, which, on the contrary, grew in volume but decreased in value. Footwear with leather uppers – the leading segment, which accounts for 63% of the value of foreign sales – showed an increase close to +13% (-5.3% in pairs compared to January-May 2022 and -15.2% on pre-Covid levels in 2019).

On the domestic consumption front, according to the Fashion Consumer Panel of Sita Ricerca for Assocalzaturifici, after a start to the year marked by recovery, household spending on footwear decreased sharply in the following three months, especially in May and June. Overall, the second quarter of the year saw a decrease of -9.8% in terms of pairs and -7.9% in value, cancelling out the progress of the previous months and bringing the total figure for the first 6 months into negative territory.

As regards business demographics, the persisting effects of the unprecedented crisis triggered by the pandemic led to a negative balance of -122 footwear manufacturers – including both firms and artisans – in the first 6 months of the year (i.e. -3.2% compared to the end of December, according to Infocamere-Movimprese), after the heavy setback suffered at the end of 2022. In terms of the number of employees, the positive rebound that started last year continued: at the end of June, there were 73,665 employees (+1.8% compared to December). However, the gap with 2019 still exceeds 1,200 units.

In the first 6 months of 2023, INPS authorised 7.5 million hours under the wage supplementation scheme (Cassa Integrazione Guadagni – CIG) for companies in the Leather Goods industry, down by -5.6% compared to the first half of last year. However, the leap in the number of hours in the second quarter (+44%), together with the worsening of the overall economic situation, herald new tensions.

Finally, expectations remain very cautious for the second half of the year, given the general climate of uncertainty and the weakness of many economies worldwide. On average, for the first time since the post-pandemic recovery, operators in the sample expect turnover in the third quarter to be down on the same period last year (-2.8%).

ItaIian footwear industry in the first quarter of 2023

Giovanna Ceolini, Chair of Assocalzaturifici: "All of the top 20 international destinations for Italian footwear, with the sole exception of Switzerland, saw increases in value, that were almost always in double-digit territory."


The first quarter of 2023 saw the recovery of the Italian footwear sector continue, with turnover up +13.6% compared to the same period in the previous year. This is the snapshot provided by the Confindustria Moda Research Centre for Assocalzaturifici, which also shows an improvement in the balance of trade (+21%).

“After yet another record being broken with the final balance for exports in 2022 (12.65 billion euro, +23% over 2021), the growth in exports continued, with a further +16.1% increase in value,” explains Giovanna Ceolini, Chair of Assocalzaturifici. “In particular, all the top 20 international destinations for Italian footwear, with the sole exception of Switzerland (-7.8%), saw increases in value, that were almost always in double-digit territory. However, the situation is different for volumes, as North America slowed down noticeably (-19.4%) and decreases were seen in Germany (-8.8%), the United Kingdom (-10.1%) and in direct flows to Switzerland (-24.8%), the traditional logistics hub for luxury brands. There was a strong recovery in Russia and Ukraine, although it should be noted that in March last year, immediately after the start of the conflict, sales to these two markets had plummeted; the results for Kazakhstan (+77% in value) were very positive. The recovery in the domestic market also continued (+8.2% in household purchases over Q1 2022)”.

However, despite the favourable trends for the main economic variables, there is still cause for concern. Indeed, there are several signs of a slowdown in growth (which is to an extent natural), after the V-shaped recovery in 2021 and the further consolidation in 2022. Despite a somewhat uneven trend across companies, this recovery allowed the sector as a whole to return to pre-Covid revenue levels in 2019. Companies' forecasts for revenues for the second quarter onwards remain positive, but appear to be cooling progressively; in terms of volume the slowdown is even more evident, with some decreases already emerging compared to Q1 2022. In the first 3 months of the year export volumes shrunk slightly (-2%) as did production (-1%, according to ISTAT’s index of industrial production).

“The survey conducted by the Confindustria Moda Research Centre amongst our members,” - notes Giovanna Ceolini, - “also revealed that high prices for energy and raw materials are currently the biggest problem for footwear companies, due to their impact on balance sheets. The survey responses also confirmed the tightening of banking credit in recent months as reported by the Bank of Italy and Istat: as much as 39% of the sample reported further restrictions (with this figure rising to 51% when we exclude companies who do not currently use credit facilities). Finally, the analysis confirmed once again the sector’s difficulties in finding skilled labour - with 84% of entrepreneurs identifying this as a significant problem for their businesses."

The report also shows that the selection process among companies is still ongoing (with -107 less active businesses compared to December, i.e. -2.8%), while the number of employees remains fairly stable (-0.3%). After the exceptional peak during the pandemic, the number of authorised wage support hours in the leather sector fell again (-20.4% in the first five months), despite a reversal of this trend in April-May (+12.6%): there were 5.7 million hours authorised overall, still +76.2% higher than in the first 5 months of 2019, before Covid.

Returning to exports, the breakdown by product type reveals uneven trends. The leather uppers footwear segment - the leading segment, which accounts for 63% of the value of exports - is the only one to have increased in the first quarter both in value terms (slightly above the average, +18.6%) and volume (+1.4%) compared to the same period in 2022; nevertheless, volumes are still down markedly compared to 2019 (-16.6%). Among the segment's items, there was a significant reduction for children's leather footwear (-12% in volume), brining to an end the recovery over the last two years; there were positive signs for the “men's” (+4.7% in total volume, despite the decrease in “high boots”) and “women's” segments (+1.5% in volume, with +2.2% and +4.2% increases for walking shoes and sandals respectively and a -24.5% reduction for boots/ankle boots).

In terms of export performance across different production regions, when analysing the data, consideration should be given to distortions resulting from potential discrepancies between the manufacturing province/region and the place where export goods are actually dispatched from. Strong export growth in some provinces is attributable to logistics hubs, which are often linked to online sales, or storage facilities for luxury brand multinationals. This helps explain the performance of Milan, which increased by +64% in the first quarter to become the leading exporting province in the sector after overtaking Florence (-11%). Looking in detail at the destination markets of these two territories, however, we note the marked increase in flows from Milan to Switzerland, which were up by +251%, i.e. 103 million euro compared to Q1 2022: this is roughly equivalent to the reduction recorded by the province of Florence in flows towards the same country (-99.8 million euro, i.e. -28% from Q1 2022). These variations are related purely to changes in distribution dynamics, and are not attributable to the economic situations in the respective areas.

As a result of these changes, Lombardy (with its +49.5% jump) overtook Tuscany (-6%) in the regional export ranking, rising to second place behind Veneto for the period, with the latter seeing an increase of +12.6%. With the exception of Tuscany and Puglia (which remained stable, -0.2%), all the other main footwear areas saw double-digit increases; Marche's growth of +20.3% (with similar trends for Fermo, +23.3%, and Macerata, +21.8%, and more moderate rises for Ascoli, +13.6%), means it is now 4% above pre-Covid levels in Q1 2019. Conversely, despite a +22.2% increase, Campania is the only region that remains below pre-Covid levels (-3.8%). Returning to the figures for Tuscany, it should be noted that, net of flows to Switzerland, exports would actually have recorded a double-digit increase (+14.3%). This is in line with the national average and means there are no particular criticalities compared to other areas.

Assocalzaturifici - Trade Association for Italian Shoemakers (Z1675) 28.06.23-4

Federica De Pascale is the new President of the Young Entrepreneurs of Assocalzaturifici, the national association representing industrial shoemakers in Italy. Born in 1999, she takes over from Elisa Lanciotti and will remain in office for the four-year period 2023-2027. Currently enrolled in the Economics and Business School of the University of Naples Federico II, De Pascale has followed in her family’s footsteps and works at Calpierre, the business her grandfather Ciro De Pascale founded in the 1960s. Training, inclusion and involvement, transversality with the different trade associations are the assets the programme of the newly elected president is based on.

"Investing in training young people is essential, bringing their attention to development policies, increasing their management, communication and tech skills," explains De Pascale. "I also believe encouraging an ongoing and constant discussion among Young Entrepreneurs is equally important in order to grow both personally and professionally in their industry and sector, scheduling meetings aimed at laying the groundwork for them to become the future leaders of the association. In order to do this, it is necessary to create a synergy among all the production segments related to fashion and the associations, in particular with the Young Entrepreneurs Group of Confindustria Moda, so as to increase the active involvement of the participants, develop a wider perspective and propose activities cohesively."


Taking over from Elisa Lanciotti, she will remain in office for the four-year period 2023- 2027

Alongside the new President will be four vice-presidents: Eleonora De Lucia of Calzaturificio Marciano (CE), Gianluca Tomat of Lotto Sport Italia (TV), Matteo Piervincenzi of Calzaturificio LE.PI. (MC) and Thomas Schlecht of Parabiago Collezioni (MI).

Assocalzaturifici is the organiser of MICAM MILANO.

Assocalzaturifici - Trade Association for Italian Shoemakers (Z1638) 09.01.23-5

Giovanna Ceolini, President of Assocalzaturifici:

“Despite the double-digit increase in sector turnover in 2022, with a forecast of a return to pre-pandemic levels, and the positive signs of most variables, a sharp increase in costs is eroding company margins, forced to face, in addition to the increases in the prices of raw materials, the unprecedented rise in energy costs”.



France, Switzerland, USA, Germany, and China are the top five destinations by value for foreign footwear sales

The Italian footwear sector continues its post-pandemic recovery path, recording in the first nine months of 2022, compared to the same period of the previous year, a double-digit increase in turnover (+13.9% among the companies in the sample of Associates). This is the snapshot taken by the Confindustria Moda Study Centre for Assocalzaturifici which also highlights an increase in exports (+23.7% in value and +11.7% in volume, driven by luxury brands), which has already exceeded pre-Covid levels (with the exception, however, of shoes with leather uppers, which have a -11% gap in quantity compared to 2019). Rewarding results in the Community markets (with increases in the order of +25% in value in France and Germany), in North America (+62%) and in the Middle East (+58.5%). So far, China has also done well, but above all for the top of the range (+43% in value, with +34% in the average price). The consequences of the war in Russia and Ukraine are heavy (-32% in the first 9 months overall, with -40% since the beginning of the conflict); Kazakhstan is growing among the states of the former Soviet bloc (+33.4%).

According to Giovanna Ceolini, President of Assocalzaturifici: “Despite the double-digit increase in sector turnover in 2022, with a forecast of a return to pre-pandemic levels, and the positive signs of most variables, a sharp increase in costs is eroding company margins, forced to face, in addition to the increases in the prices of raw materials, the unprecedented rise in energy costs. There is also a significant lack of homogeneity among the companies, with 2 out of 5 still having turnover below pre-crisis levels. The effects of the crisis appear evident in the data relating to the demographics of businesses (with 180 closures among footwear manufacturers since the beginning of the year, between industry and crafts, -4.5%), while in employment levels are confirmed the rebound already recorded in the first two quarters (+2.3%, insufficient, however, to cover the losses suffered in the previous two years) and the marked reduction, compared to 2021, in the hours of redundancy fund authorised in the leather area (-81.6%, with still a +80% on 2019). Uncertainty dominates short-term expectations, in a global panorama in which – after the long period scourged by the pandemic – inflation, high bills, and geopolitical turmoil are undermining the climate of confidence, curbing the demand for goods”.

The report also shows the recovery in domestic consumption: +13.3% in spending on household purchases, but still -3.5% on the already largely unsatisfactory situation of three years ago. The simultaneous leap in imports (+30% in quantity) and the propensity to save induced by the high cost of living make competition on the national market increasingly tight, also disadvantaged by an autumn season that started very late. The share of off-price sales is growing. In the summer, a sustained pace of tourism has returned, but the recovery in foreign shopping is still only partial.

Analysing exports in detail, foreign footwear sales (pure marketing operations included) reached yet another record in value, reaching 9.35 billion euros (+23.7% on January-September 2021), for a total of 165.2 million pairs (+11.7%): not a record for quantities, but still the best result from 2017 to today. The average price per pair rose to 56.60 euros (+10.7%). Both in value and in volume, the figures of the first 9 months of 2019 pre-Covid were exceeded (+20.4% and a more modest +3.9% respectively).

Exports to the USA were decidedly positive which - after the end of the “customs war” with the EU in autumn 2021 in the context of the digital tax disputes and the narrow escape of additional taxes on fashion products – in 2022, thanks to favourable exchange rates, they recorded a significant increase in the first 9 months (+61% in value and +28% in volume). Equally vigorous growth can be seen in Canada.

China, after the slowdown in the April-May two-month period (-25% in quantities and -13% in value) linked to the restrictions adopted in various cities to deal with new Covid outbreaks, has restarted vigorously since June. The third quarter recorded an increase of +86% in value (with +17.4% in volume), thanks to the results achieved by luxury brands. The cumulative pattern for the first 9 months thus marks a +43% in value, with a much smaller +7% in number of pairs sold. In the top 20 destinations, it is the market with the highest average price: 213.39 euros/pair, +33.6% over a year ago.

Obviously, the news of recent days of the resurgence of the virus, after the new dramatic wave of cases in the country, is of great concern.

Remaining in the Far East, (+27.4% in value globally) South Korea returns to growth (+22.5%) after the 2021 setback which had interrupted the long positive streak of the previous decade; Japan did well (+25.5% in value), which however, like Hong Kong, has a considerable gap with the pre-pandemic period.

The data on the Middle East is also comforting, where the United Arab Emirates stand out (15th market, up by +68% in value and +49% in quantity compared to January-September 2021).

Returning to the Old Continent, among the members of the EU27, Germany grew by 26% (+18% in pairs), which has always been one of the main consumers of ‘Made in Italy’ footwear (it is the second in terms of volume); other important EU outlets are also positive, such as Spain (+23% approximately in value), the Netherlands (+36%), Poland (+16%), and Belgium (+19%), all already well above pre-Covid numbers. Exports to the United Kingdom are coming back (+23% in value and +1.6% in quantity) after the collapse of the last two years, following the exit from the Union. However, the current figures remain markedly lower than those of 2019: -29% in value and -39% in volume.

Assocalzaturifici - Trade Association for Italian Shoemakers (Z1621) 16.09.22-6

Assocalzaturifici Chair Giovanna Ceolini: “The industry as a whole has seen significant recovery, but high energy costs, raw materials costs and the consequences of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine (with the value of exports to the two markets down -30%, a total drop of -46% since the start of the war) are putting short-term growth at risk. Our member companies are satisfied with sales to North America and the main EU markets, though spring lockdowns slowed sales in China. But recovery has been uneven: while designer brands are performing very well, half our member companies have not yet returned to pre-Covid sales figures”


Exports grew 24% in terms of value and 15% in terms of quantity in the first 5 months of the year as compared to the same period in 2021

Milan, 16 September 2022

The Italian footwear industry continues on the road to recovery, with further growth in sales (+14.5% in the sample of member companies surveyed) in the first half of the year, following upon a total growth rate of +18.7% in 2021. The figures emerging from the latest report by the Confindustria Moda Research Centre for Assocalzaturifici reveal double-digit growth in exports and Italian household purchases. According to Assocalzaturifici Chair Giovanna Ceolini: “The industry as a whole has seen significant recovery, but high energy costs, raw materials costs and the consequences of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine (with the value of exports to the two markets down -30%, a total drop of -46% since the start of the war) are putting short-term growth at risk. Our member companies are satisfied with sales to North America and the main EU markets, though spring lockdowns slowed sales in China. While designer brands are performing very well, half our member companies have not yet returned to pre-Covid sales figures.”

In detail, exports grew 24% in terms of value, 15% in terms of quantity in the first 5 months of 2022 as compared to the same period in 2021. This performance exceeded pre-pandemic volumes of sale (+2.4%), though it is significant that sales of footwear with leather uppers, traditionally an Italian speciality, are still well below the volume registered three years ago (-10.5% compared to January - May 2019). Among export destinations, the European Union is performing well (+23% by value), led by France and Germany (the two top foreign markets for Italian footwear in terms of volume); growth in the US and Canada is even stronger (around +65% in terms of value), supported by advantageous exchange rates; the Far East is also performing well, +15% in terms of quantity) due to lockdowns imposed by the authorities in a number of major cities; the Arab Emirates performed particularly well; and sales to the United Kingdom are recovering following the post-Brexit slowdown. Exports to Russia and Ukraine have halted due to the outbreak of war, with dire consequences for the footwear districts that traditionally serve these markets.

The industry’s balance of trade is positive by 2.18 billion Euro (+14.5% compared to January - May 2021).

Sales on the domestic market continued to approach the (unsatisfactory) levels of three years ago: household purchases were up +18.2% by value and +14% in terms of quantity in the first 6 months of the year. All market sectors performed well in January - June 2021: sales of classic men’s and women’s footwear styles (which suffered the most from lockdowns) grew by around +20% in terms of both quantity and value, while sales of children’s and teens’ shoes grew by around 10% (approaching pre-pandemic levels). Sales of sporting footwear and sneakers were up 13% in terms of volume (the only sector to exceed 2019 figures); slippers did not perform so well (just over +7%), though this increase was sufficient to bring the sector up to pre-pandemic levels, in view of the increased use of slippers during the months of isolation and therefore less shrinkage of sales in this sector in 2020. As for online sales: following the boom registered at the height of the pandemic in 2020, which forcibly changed people’s buying habits, and the slowdown of 2021, in the first 6 months of this year online sales slowed further (with a trend of -8.9% in terms of volume, -4.4% in terms of value), while still remaining well above the figures for the first half of 2019 (+24% in terms of quantity).

Shopping associated with international tourism has improved somewhat, but the number of tourists travelling to Italy and their spending, while well above 2021 figures, according to surveys conducted by Istat and Banca d’Italia, are still -25% to -30% lower than in the corresponding months in 2019.

The return to regular levels of production following the shock caused by the pandemic reversed the trend in employment: chamber of commerce figures indicate a positive balance as of the end of June of 1,062 employees more than at the end of 2021 (+1.5%), which is however insufficient to make up for last year’s losses. This represents a recovery in the wake of the falling employment figures of the past 6 years – during which the number of employees working in the industry fell by more than 6,400 – accompanied by reduced use of social security instruments (-80% use of wage support by the leather industry in the first 6 months of 2021, though the number of hours is still double the figure for the first half of 2019). Compared to the first half of 2021, all Italian regions report a conspicuous reduction in the number of hours of wage support authorised: Marche (-72.3%) ranked first in use of wage support during the half (1.9 million hours, equal to 24% of the Italian total), followed by Campania (1.7 million, - 76.3%). Use of wage support dropped -77% in Veneto, -89% in Tuscany (-84% in Florence), -76% in Lombardy, -90% in Puglia and about -88% in Emilia Romagna. Yet all regions still use more hours of wage support than they did before Covid.

The process of natural selection continues among enterprises, with 95 footwear factories closing in the first half of the year.

Assocalzaturifici - Trade Association for Italian Shoemakers (Z1614) 04.08.22-7


Giovanna Ceolini has been appointed acting Chair of Assocalzaturifici. In the wake of former Chair Siro Badon’s recent resignation, art.12, paragraph 6 of the Assocalzaturifici Articles of Association specifies that “in the event of advance resignation from the post of Chair, the most senior Vice Chair in terms of age will temporarily serve as acting Chair until the procedures for election of a new Chair can be completed”. Giovanna Ceolini has therefore been designated Chair, and accepted the appointment; in addition to matters of ordinary administration, she will oversee the establishment of the Appointment Commission.

“I hope to count on the support of the entire organisational structure and all our members in getting through this difficult time,” says Ceolini. “In the midst of these troubling times, as industry slowly recovers from the effects of the pandemic, we are preparing for an outstanding edition of MICAM that will confirm the event’s status as an essential business opportunity and economic driver for the entire footwear industry, which plays a leading role in Italian manufacturing industry”.

Assocalzaturifici - Trade Association for Italian Shoemakers (Z1612) 27.07.22-8

Siro Badon submitted his resignation as Assocalzaturifici Chair yesterday. Elected in June of 2019, he has resigned his post for personal and professional reasons as a result of his workload in his company, which prevents him from continuing to guarantee constant availability for the association. Badon, who thanks his staff for their hard work, has led Assocalzaturifici through a difficult time affected by the consequences of the pandemic that has had such a huge impact on the footwear industry.

Assocalzaturifici - Trade Association for Italian Shoemakers (Z1609) 12.07.22-9
The Chair Siro Badon: "We don't need money randomly thrown at us as a stopgap in emergencies; what we do need is a new industrial policy that promotes our excellence, both in terms of brand and industry"

Topics that emerged in the association's annual meeting, held in Bologna

During the annual meeting of Assocalzaturifici in Bologna, the Chair Siro Badon described the current state of the footwear sector, which experienced an improvement in terms of production levels last year.

Badon explained how "Recovery must also mean coming to terms with serious uncertainty and a looming recession caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which is exacerbating certain phenomena, like the spiralling costs of raw materials, energy and rampant inflation. From our survey it emerged that 7 associations out of 10 reported a worsening of their economic situation, from the second quarter of 2022. These data leave us no choice but to exercise great caution in the second half of this year. Some districts have been hit especially hard, Marche and Emilia Romagna in particular, as both regions are highly exposed on markets affected by the war; as a result they will experience a progressive and significant drop in exports from the second half of this year. The crisis caused by the conflict has inevitably become a central issue for our association. This mainly comes down to two reasons, strategic and political in nature. In strategic terms, the conflict has required different footwear companies to embrace diversification, insofar as their revenue is heavily dependent on these markets. The banking system has been hit hard by sanctions, making it extremely difficult to make sales, whereas finding different markets takes time and requires the investment of resources precisely at a time in which they are scarce, because fewer orders are being confirmed. In political terms, our government has very limited room for manoeuvre. At this time, most resources are being used to buffer the consequences of energy price hikes and for income support".

Badon's talk was followed by the presentation of the magazine "L'Impronta", an Assocalzaturifici project developed by Strategy Innovation, a spin off of the Ca'Foscari University of Venice in partnership with M&C Saatchi. Carlo Bagnoli, Full Professor of Strategic Innovation at the University's Management Department and scientific director of the spin off Strategy Innovation explained the founding myth of Italian production for footwear companies and the image of Italian footwear held by clientèle in certain countries like the USA, Russia and China, while also covering the topic of sustainability. In Impronta, Bagnoli indicates future pathways for Italian and other companies, divided into four sections: prints from Italy and the world, sustainable pathways, from the environment to social and animals, and guiding prints, recognising the right print.

Digitalisation and sustainability emerged as priorities for the industry. Badon affirmed that "Without digital skills and an approach to new sustainable production standards, not only does internationalisation become tough, but in the medium term, so does surviving global competition. Unfortunately, being good at production alone no longer cuts it in Italy. This is why two years ago Assocalzaturifici launched a few projects, mid-pandemic, in order to accompany companies on new b2b platforms including MICAM Milano Digital. Sustainability is a pillar on which a solid strategy for industry must be built. Sustainability is no longer just a whim, or a finite target: it is increasingly the starting point for footwear industries investing in research to guarantee high standards of eco-compatibility for their production processes. We strongly believe in this, in fact we have launched an important project for sustainability certification specifically for the footwear industry. VCS, Verified and Certified Steps, is a registered trademark awarded to companies that complete an assessment, measurement and above all, improvement pathway, which focuses on performance in all major aspects of business sustainability, based on internationally recognised standards. I believe this is of immense value in a market that is increasingly looking for sustainable products from sustainable companies. The value of the VCS project has been confirmed by the interest of many important companies, including large fashion groups".

SPIN 360, which has integrally implemented the entire system's logic, mathematics and programming, delivered an in-depth presentation of VCS. Spin 360 explained the project every step of the way, from the pilot phase, involving 3 companies in the footwear industry, to the presentation of districts and the illustration of the scientific committee, including business people of the industry, brands and representatives of Confindustria Moda.

The launch of MICAM was also announced, set to take place in September, with the special area: MICAM Sustainability Lab powered by VCS al pad. 3.

LIVETREND was another novelty presented on occasion of the meeting: an innovative trend and market analysis platform that collects and analyses thousands of images from e-commerce, social media and fashion shows, every single day.

Siro Badon affirmed that "Research and the study of trends are fundamental for the production of collections". I believe that today, companies need to innovate with increasing attention and invest in new technologies for the creative part regarding collections.

The LIVETREND analysis illustrates that the fashion industry will increase investments in innovation and technology over the next few years, with reference to specific figures who are up to the task of working on such contents. MICAM and Assocalzaturifici have partnered with LIVETREND to develop specific algorithms for the footwear industry, to identify trends, diversified based on the market, and with the possibility to customise search keys according to brand requirements.

Lastly, Badon described the association's activities over the last year, from projects in partnership with other Confindustria Moda associations and ICE, to the Memorandum of Intent with Sistema Moda Italia and Trade Union Organisations.

Badon did not hesitate on solutions for overcoming the crisis: "We need to restore the centrality of the manufacturing industry and plan a progressive, general cut of the cost of work. This means a structural review of the tax wedge, the downsizing of employer and employee tax burdens. This is one way of freeing up resources that would enable business people to be competitive once more on international markets and invest in communication, product and process innovation at all levels. These measures would also boost the purchasing power of Italian families and relaunch consumption. We don't need money randomly thrown at us as a stopgap in emergencies; what we do need is a new industrial policy that promotes our excellence, both in terms of brands and industry".

Assocalzaturifici - Trade Association for Italian Shoemakers (Z1606) 11.07.22-10

Siro Badon, Chair of Assocalzaturifici: “Consolidation of the recovery that began in 2021 is over shadowed by the clouds on the horizon. The effects of the Russia/Ukraine conflict, the steep rise in energy costs and the failure of raw materials price increases to slow down are halting recovery” THE ITALIAN FOOTWEAR INDUSTRY: EXPORTS GREW IN THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2022 (+21.4% IN VALUE), AS DID HOUSEHOLD SPENDING (+20.6%), THOUGH A SLOWDOWN IS ALREADY EXPECTED STARTING IN THE SECOND QUARTER. The snapshot of the industry provided by the Confindustria Moda Research Centre for Assocalzaturifici was presented at the association’s national meeting. In terms of regional trends: Veneto (+10.7% in value over January-March 2021) and Tuscany (+26.6%) continue to rank first in terms of exports (together, the two regions account for just under half of Italy’s total for the period analysed), followed by Lombardy (+33%) and Marche (+19%).

The Italian footwear industry has consolidated the recovery that began last year, with growth in exports (+21.4% in value) and household spending (+20.6%) in the first quarter of 2022. This is the snapshot of the industry provided by the Confindustria Moda Research Centre for Assocalzaturifici, presented at the association's national meeting along with the actual results for 2021, a year in which the industry’s total sales climbed back to 12.7 billion euro (+18.7%, though still below the pre-Covid 2019 figure of 14.3 billion) and national production rose to 148.8 million pairs (+13.8%).

In the first quarter of 2022, sales, industrial production, exports and domestic consumption registered double-digit growth as compared to the same period in 2021. This favoured an initial release of tension regarding employment: though the number of active enterprises continued to fall (-36 was the balance since the beginning of the year), the employment trend began to reverse at the end of March, with a timid rise over last December (+209 people, +0.3%), following the decidedly negative trend of recent years (-4,300 employees in the past two years alone). The return to a level of production that was less penalising than that of the pandemic months also resulted in a downturn of resort to social security instruments (-72% in the first 5 months with respect to 2021), though the number of hours of wage support authorised in the leather industry (7.1 million) is still more than double that of January-May 2019 (+121%).

There is still considerable uncertainty about the future scenario, requiring a certain degree of prudence, according to Assocalzaturifici Chair Siro Badon: “The progressive recovery that is bringing companies in the industry back to pre-pandemic levels (almost two out of three companies closed the year 2021 with sales figures remaining below those of 2019) has, since the end of February, faced the outbreak of conflict between Russia and Ukraine, resulting in the collapse of exports to these countries from March onwards (sales on these two markets dropped by -52% in value in March-April). The effects have been felt particularly severely in footwear districts that traditionally export to these areas (such as Marche and Romagna), which saw cancellation of shipments due for delivery and orders in their portfolio. In addition to the effects of the war, we have seen a steep rise in energy costs and no significant reduction in raw materials prices, which have been high for many months, in addition to fears of new variants of the virus”.

Taking a closer look at the figures for the first quarter of the year, it appears clear that purchases by Italian households were up +15.4% in quantity and +20.6% in value in the first 3 months of 2022 over the figures for the same period in 2021, but there is still a gap of around 10% as compared to the situation before the pandemic. The strongest recovery in terms of percentages has been in the sectors that suffered the most from the effects of lockdowns and restrictions in 2020: classic men’s and women's shoes (sales of both increased around 30%, in terms of both number of pairs and value, over the first 3 months of 2021). Shopping by tourists visiting Italy is still far from 2019 levels, despite a partial recovery of arrivals in 2021 and an encouraging start to 2022 as the situation of the pandemic improved.

Exports were up +11.7% in quantity and +21.4% in value over the first 3 months of 2021 (with average prices up +8.7%). Including pure trading operations, 58.7 million pairs were exported (-4.9% compared to the first quarter of 2019), worth 3 billion euro. EU markets are recovering (+9% in volume and +18% in value, with a peak of +22% in value in France, due to supplies of footwear to designer brands, a figure of +16% for Germany, +20% for Spain and +37% for the Netherlands). The increases in non-EU27 countries were even higher (+18% in quantity and +25% in value). These include: +70% in value in the USA (already well exceeding pre-Covid 2019 levels); a return to growth in South Korea (+16%, in terms of both value and number of pairs), after the slowdown of 2021 that interrupted a long period of growth in the previous decade; and good results in China (+28% in value). Negative trends were seen, of course, in Russia and Ukraine, particularly after the conflict broke out at the end of February. Exports to Russia shrank by -51% in value in March, while exports to Ukraine were down -95%. Cumulative figures after the first 3 months of the year – unfortunately destined to worsen as the war continues – indicate a drop of around -20%, in terms of both value and number of pairs, for Russia and -48% in value (-56.5% in quantity) for Ukraine, as compared to January-March 2021. According to Eurostat, footwear exports to Russia dropped -37% in value in the month of April, while exports to Ukraine fell by -81%.

At the regional level, Veneto (+10.7% in value over January-March 2021) and Tuscany (+26.6%) performed best in terms of exports (representing just over half of Italy’s total exports in the period analysed), followed by Lombardy (+33%). Increases of around 20% were recorded in Puglia (+22.3%), Emilia Romagna (+20.1%, despite a figure of -1% for Forlì-Cesena) and Marche (+19% despite a drop of -35% in the value of exports to Russia and -51% in exports to Ukraine). Marche (the region ranking fourth in number of exports) and Campania (ninth, with +15%) were the only regions among principal Italy’s footwear-producing areas to fail to match the figure for exports in the first quarter of 2019 in terms of value (falling below it by -14% and -21.5%, respectively).

The ranking by province is still led by Florence (+30.3%, a share of around 20% of the national total), ahead of Milan (+37.3%) and Treviso (+16.3%). Growth was moderate in Verona (+4.7%, ranking seventh); while Vicenza, the sixth ranking region, saw a drop of -19%. Good results in Fermo (the fourth province in terms of exports, at +16.6%) are destined to slow down in the months to come due to the fact that many companies in the district export to the Russian market.

The balance of trade in the industry was positive in the first quarter by 1.28 billion euro (+12.8% over the same period last year).

While the demographics for number of enterprises and employment saw a continuation of the process of selection among companies (-36 over December 2021), despite the positive balance of the number of employees (+209, or +0.3%), probably a bounce-back after several quarters of marked decline. If footwear component manufacturers are taken into account, these balances are -119 enterprises and +140 employees.

Assocalzaturifici - Trade Association for Italian Shoemakers (Z1599) 06.05.22-11
President Siro Badon Statement

"I want Assocalzaturifici’s position regarding the participation of Italian footwear companies in the Moscow trade fair to be perfectly clear: the trade association complies with the sanctions imposed by the international community against the country that started this war, but I cannot help sympathising with these companies, because the task of our association is supporting all our companies, even those that could not withdraw their requests to participate in the trade fair due to contractual obligations undertaken before the start of the war in Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine, now practically inaccessible due to the war, account for more than 50 percent of the sales of many of these companies.”

Assocalzaturifici Chair Siro Badon invites us to consider the matter more closely.

"We’re talking about shutting the door on two very important markets, right after a two-year pandemic. Companies that do business in the countries now involved in the conflict find themselves dealing with a very difficult situation. Footwear companies that work with Russia and, of course, Ukraine are not violating any European sanctions. They have worked and continue to work in compliance with international law, courageously facing the consequences of a conflict that has had a devastating economic impact on a number of Italy’s industrial districts. Districts our association represents, and for which it must speak up. Assocalzaturifici, under the wing of Confidustria Moda, is working with the institutions to ensure that no-one is left behind at this dramatic time in history. We are asking the government to pass a number of essential measures to address this exceptionally critical situation. We are equally aware of the need to promote mechanisms for structural growth of our SMEs in order to support companies’ international growth, the diversification of their products, and therefore their approach to new markets abroad. Having only a few destination markets, or depending heavily on certain high-risk countries, cannot guarantee stability and growth, as we are seeing not only in our own case but on the energy market. When the biggest supplier is out of the picture and you have no alternative, you risk a crisis. This is why we say it is time to put a stop to the controversy and invite everyone to imagine what our member companies are going through every day. They have been protecting their business relations with important customers, like so many other Italian companies that are continuing to work in the country, simply because they cannot stop, and they hope to resume their business relationships again as soon as possible. Now this is resilience, not an attempt to get around the sanctions, as some people have been implying in the past few days. And this represents my own personal hope. What we are going through is not only a time of economic difficulty, but a humanitarian tragedy. Widening or continuing the conflict would result in even greater and more dramatic economic damage not only to the footwear industry, but to the country as a whole. The increase in raw materials and energy costs is obvious to everyone, and I know that Confindustria continues to be in contact with the Draghi government, that they are aware of what we are going through. This is why I insist that this is not the time to fuel controversy in the industry, because we are facing some very important challenges.”

Assocalzaturifici - Trade Association for Italian Shoemakers (Z1590) 12.04.22-12
La Moda Italiana@Almaty closes

La Moda Italiana@Almaty in Almaty, Kazakhstan closed on a note of cautious optimism among Italian operators at the event, which was organised by Assocalzaturifici in partnership with the Italian fashion industry association EMI, Ente Moda Italia, with the support of the Italian Embassy, the practical assistance of ITA Agency, and in collaboration with the Italian Furriers’ Association AIP and the Italian leather goods association Assopellettieri. The event held at Dom Priemov in Almaty April 6 through 8 registered significant numbers of local buyers: more than 200 from the provinces of Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. 50 Italian fashion brands represented the best of Italian fashion at the event.

The exhibition was completed with an evening event sponsored by MICAM Milano in the presence of His Excellency the Italian Ambassador to Nur-Sultan, Marco Alberti, preceded by a discussion of Fashion and sustainability: scenarios and trends in Italy and Kazakhstan, organised by the Italian Embassy in Nur-Sultan investigating the prospects of the market and the new drivers of sustainable consumption. The event, attended by the entire Kazakh fashion community, focused on VCS Verified & Certified Steps certification, a project launched by Assocalzaturifici in the last edition of the fair in the new area MICAM Green Zone and presented for the occasion to an audience of more than 30 opinion leaders from Almaty, entrepreneurs, buyers, bloggers and influencers at LA PRIMA in Almaty with the participation of Lilia Rakh, an expert on fashion for 32 years and one of the world’s top 500 fashion leaders.

The attenuation of the pandemic and the consequent upswing of international markets in 2021 has favoured recovery in Central Asia, as elsewhere. With almost 207,000 pairs and an average price tag of 83.08 Euro a pair, exports to Kazakhstan registered a growth rate of +12.8% over the previous year in the first 11 months of 2021. The regions of Marche, Emilia Romagna and Lombardy manufacture three quarters of the footwear exported to the country. Almaty also represented an opportunity to establish contact with buyers in Uzbekistan, a market that has been growing for Italian exports in terms of both quantity (+31.6%) and value (+3.8%). Together, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan import Italian footwear worth more than 20 million Euro.








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