The pandemic has laid a rough patch for businesses with the Indian footwear industry not being an exception. With closed offices, schools, and colleges due to the lockdown, the demand for footwear has been severely impacted in the first half of 2021 that has contracted the overall revenues by 21 percent according to Crisil.
However, after many contractions in sales, the sector is expected to witness some green shoots in the year 2022 with 23-25 percent revenue growth and sales estimated to reach up to Rs 70,000 but operating profitability to contract by 1.50 -1.75 percent due to high raw material prices.
According to Crisil, the demand for footwear has been severely impacted in the first half of 2021 that has contracted the overall revenues by 21 percent.
Top trends in 2022 for the Indian footwear industry
Here are the trends that will be a fillip to the Indian footwear industry in 2022.
Let the toes shine: With new cases of Omicron rising and the possibility of a new third wave of covid, it might be possible that the outdoor movement is restricted. The preference for open or comfortable footwear such as sandals and slippers will increase.
Let us lead an active lifestyle: With gyms and sports activities on a halt, people have taken up running and jogging to maintain a healthy lifestyle. E-commerce platform Flipkart has witnessed a sales spike in athletic shoes upto 1.5 times compared to pre-covid times and a 20 percent increase in sales from July to August.
Push of Make in India: The government wants to make the Indian economy a self-reliant one and is emphasising local manufacturing under the ‘Make in India’ initiative. India’s footwear and leather industry is always an export-oriented one to further become the export hub, the government has announced a $364 million incentive package for the leather and footwear industry.
Going Omnichannel: Footwear brands are opting for omnichannel sales and bringing synchronisation across all sales channels to minimise operational complexities and cater to customer needs easily. Bata, whose digital channels earlier contributed 6-7 percent to its sales has rolled out Bata Chat Shop on WhatsApp that covers 600 of its stores across India where customers can chat with their neighbourhood stores to order products. For offline it had introduced ‘ Bata-on-Wheels’, a mobile shoe store to enhance its omnichannel presence.
Automation: Creating a pair of shoes requires tremendous manual labour especially in sewing and making the upper part of the shoe which takes a minimum of 18 months from forecast to delivery. As the third wave approaches, the government might again put restrictions that businesses need to operate with 50 percent capacity. By implementing automation in production, businesses can benefit from lesser manpower and match up with the demand and supply.
The Indian footwear industry in 2021 has suffered from lockdown, but with the increased pace of vaccination, likely, the organisations will again return to the conventional work-from-office that will again fuel the demand for footwear.