A new study commissioned by Austrian shoe manufacturers, importers and retailers shows that 87 percent of the shoppers in the country look for comfort in the footwear that they want to buy. Shoes must fit for 91 percent of the people above the age of 50, and 45 percent of them complain that they have found problems with the shoes they bought. The feet are important for 70 percent of the people of this generation, in contrast with 28 percent of those between the ages of 14 and 30. In general, only 43 percent of the men care about their feet.

Only 31 percent of the Austrians in general seek to be in line with the trends, although the ratio rises to 38 percent among women and to 45 percent among people between the ages of 14 and 30. The importance of the materials and the craftsmanship is highlighted by 55 and 53 percent of the older people, respectively. Price is a factor for only 47 percent of Austrian consumers in general and for 44 percent of the elderly.

Austria is an important market for shoes. In 2007, the market was worth €1,218 million, indicating that Austrian consumers spent on average €413 per capita on footwear, with 40 percent of that going into women’s shoes, 19 percent into men’s shoes, 13 percent into sports shoes and 12 percent into children’s shoes. The market declined by an estimated 0.8 percent in 2008.

The study shows that 57 percent of Austrians buy shoes in large shoe stores, 50 percent in smaller shoe shops and 21 percent in discount stores. Many shop in different types of stores. While 70 percent of the younger consumers up to the age of 30 prefer the large shoe stores, 61 percent of the seniors prefer the smaller ones.

Choice and service are just as important for the population at large, but men prefer to have a large range of products to choose from, while women place more importance on the advice given by the sales personnel. Lack of attention by the salespeople was criticized by 29 percent of the respondents.

While 40 percent of Austrian women like to go shopping for shoes, the ratio is only 19 percent among men, according to the new survey, which is expected to be repeated for two more years. An interesting finding is that 59 percent of women find high heels sexy and 41 percent feel that boots are sexy. Regardless of the gender, 56 percent of men and women like the stability on the ground given by the sneakers they wear.