The French National Leather Council (Conseil National du Cuir or CNC) has released international trade data showing that footwear exports continued to grow at a faster rate than imports in 2021.
In 2021, France exported 119.5 million pairs, generating 4.0 billion euros. This reflected an increase of 15 percent compared to 2020, when trade was impacted by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Footwear imports rose by 12 percent, totalling 6.7 billion euros.
France was the third largest footwear importer and seventh largest exporter worldwide in 2020, by value. European countries account for 92 percent of destinations for French footwear exports. In 2021, Spain ranked first followed by Italy, purchasing 22.8 million and 18.2 pairs respectively. Germany and Poland followed with 15.6 million and 11.7 million pairs purchased.
The sector continues to suffer a trade deficit, but is evolving positively according to the CNC. Last year, France had a 1.9 percent share of global footwear exports.
The country represented 5.9 percent of global leather goods exports in 2021. Overall, French leather exports rose by 23 percent, generating 14.7 billion euros and imports grew by 14 percent, amounting to 11.0 billion euros. Leather goods accounted for 68 percent of exports, footwear for 27percent, raw materials for 3 percent and gloves and apparel for 2 percent.
In the data, CNC noted that China has become the main export market for the leather industry, up 36 percent from the prior year. The US market performance also stood out with a 37 percent growth year-over-year, generating 1.42 billion euros.