Data from the association highlights that while footwear production from January to September 2023 fell by 1.6% to 618.5 million pairs, apparent consumption in the same period was up by 1.9% to 550.9 million pairs.

Abicalçados says that this reflects domestic production losing business to imports, which have been exempt from import taxes of up to US$50 since August 2023.

The association further showcased that there were only 391 jobs created in September 2023 while the figure for September 2022 was more than 4,000. This is the worst monthly result on record (since the 2000s), excluding during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Employment in 2023 is reportedly down by 6.4% year-on-year, actively employing around 296,000 people at present.

Abicalçados Executive President Haroldo Ferreira said: “The data shows that, despite the growth in consumption, the national industry has been losing traction. We are losing market share to products that are entering Brazil without any type of taxation. It is unfair competition, as we pay cascading taxes, and it is destroying not only the national footwear industry, but the jobs it generates.”

The organisation recently undertook a survey which found that the two largest international e-commerce platforms operating in Brazil earned around R$2 billion (US$407.93 million) from the segment in 2022. Meanwhile, for every R$1 billion (US$203.97 million) of lost production, the sector will lose 16,500 jobs directly and indirectly.