Aimed at supporting the internationalisation of footwear companies manufacturing in Europe, the trade mission to Almaty, Kazakhstan, was part of a European Commission funded campaign named “European Footwear: More than Fashion”.

On April 4-5, 36 European footwear brands from Austria, France, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands set out to reach new consumers in Kazakhstan, an emerging market which has seen a rising demand in footwear products in the last 7 years, and only produces 2% of the total market turnover.

The trade mission sought to increase the availability of European products in Kazakh retail stores as the country’s consumers are becoming increasingly interested in accessing fashionable and high quality shoes outside Kazakhstan.

Organised by the European Confederation of the Footwear Industry (CEC) in collaboration with the consultancy European Profiles, the shoe display at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Almaty was attended by major Kazakh fashion retailers and distributors.

According to the CEC, European footwear exports to Kazakhstan almost quadrupled from 2010 to 2014, but they still only represented 11,5% of the total imports into Kazakhstan in 2014, meaning that European companies can still do more to increase their share of the Kazakh market.

“We are grateful to the European Commission for their direct support to European footwear SMEs. The positive results achieved in Almaty this week make a strong case for a second trade mission in another non-European country in order to continue promoting European excellence and creativity in footwear fashion, and encourage European footwear companies to conquer new markets”, said Cleto Sagripanti, President, CEC.