The UAE is one of the most vibrant markets for the Brazilian footwear brands. The constant expansion of import by the UAE ensures it is a strategic focus market for the Brazilian Footwear programme.
Last month we attended the three-day International Leather and Footwear Exhibition (SICC – Salão Internacional do Couro e do Calçado, Image Project) in Gramado, Brazil to get a first-hand view of the Brazilian footwear market and export initiatives in the Middle East.
In 2017 Brazil exported 3.3 million pairs worth $29 million to the Middle East. The Emirates imported 1.5 million Brazilian pairs worth $13.4 million, followed by Saudi Arabia at 1.1 million pairs worth $7.8 million, Kuwait and Bahrain stood at 0.5 and 0.2 million pairs at $5.7 and $2.1 million, respectively. The UAE is the 16th leading market for Brazilian footwear exports.
Even though the Middle East is a strategic export market for the Brazilian footwear brands, numbers have declined in the first four months of 2018. The GCC countries imported 1.98 million pairs, 32% less than the same period last year. During the first quarter of 2018, compared to the same period in 2017, the only country that imported more shoes is Kuwait with approximately 183,000 pairs (+16.7%), generating $1.6 million. Despite decline, the UAE is still at the top with a little over 513,000 pairs (-12%) generating $4.2 million, followed by Saudi Arabia at 170,000 pairs (-58.3%), generating $1.3 million.
Among the reasons cited for decline by some footwear exporters are economic turmoil, implementation of the new taxation regime in the UAE and Saudi Arabia as well as changes in expatriate policies in KSA.
The 27th edition of SICC featured over 1,800 exhibitors. Brazilian footwear brands presented their spring/summer 2018-19 footwear collections. More than 15,000 visitors – including buyers, government agencies, media as well as influencers – walked the halls of Serra Park. It was a platform that enabled footwear manufacturers, retailers and buyers to meet face-to-face to evaluate not only the seasonal collections but also discuss industry trends.
It was also the stage for two actions to promote Brazilian footwear to international markets – like the Middle East – by the Brazilian Footwear, the footwear exports promotion programme developed by the Brazilian Footwear Industries Association (Abicalçados) and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil).
Read the full coverage in our June edition.