The results were presented during a meeting at Abicalçados’ headquarters in Novo Hamburgo (RS), Brazil, on November 30. Letícia Sperb Masselli, Commercial Promotion Coordinator at Abicalçados, said the mission’s visits to the cities of Shanghai, Hangzhou and Chongqing allowed for a mapping of the local retail, however, the country’s e-commerce model attracted the most attention. With over 700 million active buyers, “China consumes 25% of the world’s footwear production, and much of this consumption takes place on digital platforms, especially through the so-called ‘cross border e-commerce’,” said Masselli, adding that China is to surpass the U.S. and make the world’s most ‘digitised economy’ in 2018.

Given China’s important geographical and demographic dimension, Masselli said that a Brazilian footwear entrance to the market requires high investments, such as in brand image and commercial promotion. Abicalçados aims to develop an insertion strategy that unites both the online and offline retail models in 2018.

With a population of 1.4 billion people, China is the largest consumer footwear market in the world, totalling close to 4 billion pairs in 2016. Since 2010, Abicalçados says it has helped Brazil’s shoe exports to increase by over 400%, from US$1.4 million to US$6 million in 2016, through its Brazilian Footwear programme. As reported by ILM, its latest trade mission took place in France; Brazil’s third biggest footwear buyer.