The innovation process within the Portuguese footwear industry is a continuous one and its biggest challenge is to conciliate the tradition and know-how accumulated over generations with the most modern technology, flexibility, and top-level design. A challenge which has been at the same time one of the distinctive features of this industry.
An industry with a total of 1.473 companies and employing 38.661 people, according to the latest numbers. Most of these businesses, making up the Portuguese footwear industry, are small and medium-sized companies, strongly geared towards exports. Thus, the competitiveness of the Portuguese footwear sector is strongly based on structures that distinguish themselves from their competitors because they are highly flexible, extremely well equipped from a technological point of view, and which pride themselves on providing a fast and efficient customer service.
In 2016, Portugal has exported 81 million pairs of shoes to 152 countries across the 5 continents, with a total value of 1.923 million euros. Last year was also the seventh consecutive year of growth in sales to the foreign markets. In this short period, the Portuguese footwear industry has presented an outstanding growth dynamic, increasing its exports revenue in roughly 50%.
APICCAPS, the Portuguese Footwear, Components and Leather Goods Manufacturers’ Association was responsible for launching the FOOTure 4.0 programme. This Action Programme for the Footwear Industry encompasses more than 100 measures aiming to turn the Portuguese Footwear Industry into one of the most competitive and modern in the world by 2020. The FOOTure 4.0 programme defines internationalization, qualification of human resources, innovation and social responsibility as its four main objectives. In order to ensure such objectives are achieved an overall investment of 160 million euros is forecasted until 2020.
Internationalization is fundamental for the Portuguese footwear industry, and as such APICCAPS promotes, each year, the presence of 180 companies at dozens of professional trade shows all over the world.