The German shoe industry in the year 2014

Manfred JunkertAfter sales decreases in the previous two years, sales once again increased considerably in the German shoe industry in 2014. With an 8.8% sales increase in the year that has just ended compared to the previous two years, the sales volume of the year 2011 (2.457 billion euros) was even exceeded. In 2014, German shoe manufacturers achieved total sales of 2.518 billion euros compared to the 2.313 billion euros in 2013.

In the first half of 2014, the increase was still +5.7%, while in the second half of 2014, sales in the German shoe industry increased by +12.1%.

Contrary to the good development of domestic sales, foreign sales in 2014 fell by -2.4% compared to the previous year. In terms of value, the sales equal 602 million euros in 2014 compared to the 617 million euros in 2013.

Domestic sales increased +12.9%, going from 1.696 billion euros in 2013 to 1.915 billion euros in 2014. Thus, the proportion of foreign sales in the total for 2014 was 23.9%, a drop of 2.8 percentage points.

 

Companies & employees

Official 2014 statistics registered 39 companies in the shoe industry. In the previous year, official statistics still accounted for 41 companies. The decrease is related to the guidelines of the official statistical census. Overall, we still have about 80 small, medium and large production facilities in the German shoe industry, but not all of them are registered in official statistics.

I am happy to report that the number of employed persons increased slightly by +0.2% even though fewer companies were accounted for in 2014. The employment level is therefore at a continuously high level. In 2014, German shoe industry companies employed an average of 11,632 persons, compared to the 11,611 employed in 2013. As in the year 2013, the average number of employees per company increased once again in 2014. If 283 (+27) persons worked in a company in 2013, one year later that number increased to 298 (+15) persons. This corresponds to an average employment increase of +5.3% per company.

 

Utilization of capacity

In the first 9 months of 2014, the utilization of capacity in the German shoe industry remained at the level of the previous year, namely at just under 90%. At the end of the year, utilization fell to 85%.

 

Prices

Shoe prices in Germany remained almost stable in 2013. Statistics show a +0.9% change in the 2014 general consumer prices. “Consumer prices for shoes” in Germany had a +0.9% increase as well. On the other hand, “manufacturer’s prices for shoes” roughly doubled (+1.9%). According to information provided by the Federal Statistics Office, the 2014 inflation rate is at the same level of the above-mentioned price trends, a probable +0.9%. Therefore, no shoe price increases worth mentioning are expected for 2015.

 

Outlook

Although the mild winter weather, in particular, explains the weak sales experienced by shoe retailers, a restraint is expected for the upcoming ordering rounds of the shoe industry. The tensions and unsolved crises abroad, especially in Russia and Ukraine, also contribute to uncertainty in the industry.

Nonetheless, overall basic economic conditions are good. Employment has reached a high level both in the shoe industry and in the entire German economy. With well over 42 million persons employed and safe workplaces, the prerequisites for good consumption climate are in place. Even the latest consumer surveys confirm that the purchasing power of German consumers and their willingness to buy are given.

In addition, the low energy and gasoline prices have the effect of an economic stimulus. One-third of consumers want to spend more for fashion in this new year. In spite of this positive setting, uncertainty prevails in most of the shoe industry, so that expectations are rather subdued for the next six months. This was also confirmed by the general business activity index of the ifo Institute.