Footwear production in Italy fell by 24.6 percent in value to €6,023 million in 2020 and by 27.1 percent in volume to 130.5 million pairs due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to preliminary data released by the Italian footwear association Assocalzaturifici.

Overall revenues for the Italian footwear industry, which includes commercial activities, dropped by 25.2 percent to €10.72 billion.

Spending in footwear by Italian households fell by 23.1 percent to €4,565 million during the year. In volume, the decline was narrower, reaching 17.4 percent to 123.3 million pairs. However, the average retail price of shoes bought fell by 6.8 percent to €37.02 a pair. All product categories suffered a drop in prices, except women’s slippers and clogs, which rose by 1.7 percent.

Exports, including re-exportations, fell by an estimated 14.7 percent to €8,765 million and by 17.4 percent in volume to 166.5 million pairs. Imports, including re-importations, were down by 15.5 percent in value to €4,531 million and by 18.1 percent in volume to 273.6 million pairs. Italy’s trade surplus in footwear fell by an estimated 13.7 percent to €4,233 million.

The number of footwear manufacturers contracted by 4.0 percent year-on-year, or 174 companies, to 4,152. When including companies producing footwear components, the tally reaches 338 firms, down by 3.4 percent.

Employment in footwear manufacturing also decreased by 4.0 percent, or 3,008 people, to 71,882 persons. With the inclusion of component suppliers, the headcount dropped by 5.9 percent, or 4,587 jobs.

The Marche region was most badly hit with 146 shoe manufacturers and component suppliers closing down and 1,706 jobs lost. Tuscany ranked second with 77 companies and 1,106 jobs gone.

The number of employees in the Italian leather industry that benefitted from a temporary layoff scheme called “cassa integrazione” surged, with the number of working hours paid under the furlough program up by 899.8 percent to 83.0 million as companies closed or slowed down their activity during the pandemic.

In the first quarter of 2021, Italian shoe makers expect revenues to fall on average by 15.1 percent year-on-year. However, 25 percent of respondents to the survey carried out in January by Confindustria Moda’s research center, anticipate their sales to decline by more than 35 percent.

The survey indicated that 55 percent of respondents forecast a negative revenue trend for the whole of 2021, 39 percent foresee a return to growth in the second half of the year and only 6 percent anticipate a recovery in the first half.