Italian shoe exports rose by 7.1 percent in value to €5.081 billion in the first six months of 2019, while falling by 0.9 percent in terms of volume to 106.9 million pairs, according to the Italian shoe industry association, Assocalzaturifici. The average price increased by 8.2 percent to €47.55 a pair.

Among the main regions, exports to the European Union increased by 3.9 percent in value to €2.489 billion, while exports to other European countries – the largest being Switzerland, Norway and Turkey – advanced by 20.8 percent to €932.3 million.

Exports to Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States dropped by 13.0 percent to €200.2 million. Exports to the Middle East decreased by 7.5 percent to €138.3 million, while sales to other Asian countries rose by 10.2 percent to €626.0 million.

Sales in North America grew by 12.1 percent to €564.2 million, but fell by 3.8 percent in volume.

Switzerland was the single largest export market, up by 24.3 percent to €891.9 billion in value and up by 5.2 percent in volume to 8.9 million pairs. The country acts as a logistic hub for many fashion brands that get their shoes made in Italy.

France ranked second, up by 11.8 percent to €797.4 million, and up by 13.4 percent in volume to 19.4 million pairs, as many Italian shoemakers supply French brands. France was the biggest export market in terms of volume, followed by Germany.

The U.S. came in as the third-largest export market, up by 13.5 percent in value to €505.9 million but down by 3.8 percent in volume. Germany came next in terms of euros, but Italian exports to that country were down by 2.4 percent in value to €504.8 million and down by 8.0 percent in volume to 16.5 million pairs.

When combined with Hong Kong, China was Italy's fifth-largest exports market after Germany, up by 11.7 percent to €333.1 million in value and up by 2 percent in volume.

Italian imports rose by 4.1 percent in the first half of 2019 to €2.667 billion, and here also, the average price per pair increased, going up by 4.2 percent to €14.64 as compared to a year earlier. In volume, shipments contracted by 0.1 percent to 182.2 million pairs.

Imports from China were up by 12.7 percent in value to €416.7 million, followed by France, down by 12.2 percent to €313.8 million, and Belgium, up by 13.2 percent to €248.2 million. As usual, Belgium's figures were inflated by re-exports. Imports from Romania, which is integrated in the Italian supply chain, went up by 4.3 percent to €210.4 million.

Imports from Spain rose sharply by 27.0 percent in value to €140.4 million and by 40.8 percent in volume to 8.3 million pairs, with the average price falling by 9.9 percent to €16.88 a pair.

In the six-month period, Italy's overall trade surplus in footwear rose by 10.7 percent year-on-year to €2.414 billion.