Germany’s footwear sector made a turnover of €2.9 billion in 2006, up by 3.1 percent from the previous year, according to HDS, the German shoe industry federation, which expects the figure to remain flat or to improve slightly in 2007. Of this, €2.1 billion came from domestic sales, which increased by 0.7 percent, while €800 million came from international sales, up by 9.6 percent.

Average prices increased for both exports and imports. The export price per pair went up by 30.1 percent to €16.25, while the average import price increased by 16.4 percent to €9.80. In terms of volume, exports fell by 13.5 percent to 142 million pairs, while imports declined by 5.5 percent to 438 million pairs. On the other hand, the volume of exports to Austria, Russia, the Ukraine and Japan increased markedly.

Imports from China decreased by 12.4 percent to 225 million pairs, but their average price rose by 22 percent to €5.27, including a 36 percent increase for leather shoes to €10.51. HDS feels that the price increase was due not so much to the European anti-dumping duties, but rather to the sourcing of higher-grade footwear and to double-digit increases in labor costs at several locations in China. The trend is likely to continue.

After declining for many years, imports from Italy remained rather stable, recording a drop of only 0.8 percent in volume to 37.7 million pairs, combined with a 6.7 percent increase in the average import price to €17.04. Imports from Portugal rose by 27.6 percent to 12.0 million pairs, while instead imports from Spain suffered a big decrease of 31.1 percent to 7.3 million pairs.

German shoe production continued to decline and was down by 15 percent to around 24.5 million pairs due to a growing tendency to outsource, with women’s leather shoes recording the biggest drop. On the other hand the number of employees of the sector declined by only 0.4 percent to 13,258.