At the GDS fair, the federation of the German footwear and leathergoods industry, HDS/L, presented more detailed sales, export and import figures than those we already published in the last issue of Shoe Intelligence.

Shoe imports into Germany increased by 3.9 percent to 297 million pairs in the first half of 2013, representing the second-biggest increase in recent years. Imports from the European Union accounted for 19.7 percent of all imports in terms of volume and 36.1 percent in terms of value.

Average shoe prices per imported pair increased once again and reached €10.69 in the first half of this year, 2.1 percent up from the first half of 2012. For shoes with leather uppers, average import prices went up by 3.7 percent to €20.8.

Retail prices increased by 2.1 percent in the first half of 2013 in Germany. While the average price for women's shoes rose from €56.4 to €59, the price and for men's shoes increased from €70.2 to €72.6, possibly reflecting efforts by many shoe retailers to sell more valuable shoes.

Prices of leather shoes imported from China fell slightly by 1.7 percent to €5.84 in the first half of 2013. The share of Chinese imports reached 52.3 percent of all imported footwear with 155 million pairs, up from 152 million pairs in the first half of 2012.

Imports from Vietnam went up by 3.4 percent to 35 million pairs in the first half of 2013, as compared to the same period of the previous year, accounting for 11.9 percent of total shoe imports. Average import prices for Vietnamese leather shoes rose from €11.77 to €12.48, an increase of 6 percent.

Italy was the third-biggest shoe exporter to Germany in the first half of 2012. Its position has retreated to the fifth place, coming after the Netherlands and Indonesia in terms of volume. Shoe imports from the Netherlands increased by 64.1 percent to 14.2 million pairs in terms of volume and by 46 percent to €130.7 million in terms of value. Their average price fell from €10.38 in the first half of 2012 to €9.23 in the first half of 2013, due to an increasing number of shoes with plastic and textile uppers.

With 12.69 million pairs, shoe imports from Indonesia increased by 3.8 percent, whereas imports from Italy decreased by 6.2 percent, down from 12.5 million pairs to 11.7 million pairs.  With 8.2 million pairs, shoe imports from India were up by 5.2 percent in the first half of this year.

Sales of German shoes abroad, including those manufactured in other countries, increased by 3.3 percent to 99 million pairs of shoes in the first six months of 2013. The average price per pair went up by 2 percent to €16.3. Shoe exports to countries of the European Union accounted for 86 percent of the total volume.

For the first time, Slovakia received the highest volume of Germany's shoe sales abroad. At 13.8 million pairs, shoe exports to Slovakia increased by 26.4 percent in the first half of 2013, accounting for 14 percent of Germany's total shoe exports. Exports to Poland declined by 2.6 percent to 13.5 million pairs.

Exports to France rose once again in the first half of this year, going up by 22.2 percent to 10.5 million pairs. With 9.5 million pairs, shoes exported to the Netherlands increased by 5.8 percent. In terms of value, shoe exports reached €198 million in France.

For the the full calendar year, HDS/L expects that the industry's total sales will remain almost stable as compared to 2012, or a decline of 2.7 percent based on the worst possible scenario. The German shoe retailers' federation, BDSE, expects that total shoe retail sales will remain stable in 2013, as compared to the previous year.