By NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK / Pic By BLOOMBERG
Malaysia’s footwear exports declined 12% for the first eight months of 2017, despite the rise in demand for sports and running shoes.
Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) deputy CEO Datuk Wan Latiff Wan Musa said the government expects the drop in export value to be trimmed before year-end.
“Our exports have decreased by 12% as of August 2017, despite a strong growth for sportswear. We still have four months to go. We hope to at least reduce the decline to a single digit,” he said at the Nottingheels Spring Summer 2018 collection launch in Kuala Lumpur last Friday.
Malaysia exported footwear products valued at RM715.5 million last year, a 22.4% jump compared to RM584.7 million recorded in 2015.
The exports comprised footwear with outer soles made of rubber, plastics and leather, valued at RM175.1 million, tailed by sports footwear with rubber and plastic outer soles at RM77.6 million.
Singapore, Indonesia and the UK are the biggest markets for footwear exports, recording export values of RM205.5 million, RM46.3 million and RM43.9 million respectively last year.
Footwear is a lucrative business. Technavio, a market research firm, predicts the footwear market will reach US$216 billion (RM913.68 billion) by the end of 2019.
Malaysia’s neighbour, Vietnam, exported footwear products worth US$17.9 billion last year, while China’s export in this segment was US$47.8 billion.
For the leather shoes-exporting countries, Malaysia is ranked 46th with export value worth US$62.2 million last year. The leather shoe exports market alone last year amounted to US$50.5 billion.
Wan Latiff said local foot- wear designers and manufacturers could boost their global presence by maximising the free trade agreements between Malaysia and other countries, and embark on online platform to seek new markets.
“We should take advantage of the free-trade market and online shopping, and we are hoping for more small and medium enterprises participation to boost our export value,” he said.
Malaysia is well-known as an original equipment manufacturer hub for global brands like Puma and Nike.
Meanwhile, NTH Global Sdn Bhd — the owner of Nottingheels — is working with Matrade to tap into high-fashion markets like Seoul, New York, Los Angeles and Miami. The brand offers orthopaedic shoes that cater to different types of feet requirements.