Home > INDIA > Business events
NO CRISIS FOR ITALIAN SHOES IN RUSSIA
First there was America's new first lady, who had six pairs of exclusive shoes made for her by the Pisan designer Claudia Ciuti. Now, is the next big sponsor of Italian footwear going to be Svetlana Medvedeva, wife of the Russian president Dmitri Medvedev? So far, the wife of the head of the Kremlin has been seen at the latest Milanese fashion shows. But next January, from the 13th to the 16th, Italian shoes will metaphorically be coming to visit her on the occasion of the 2009 staging of Consumexpo. This is Russia's most important multi-sector trade fair, specializing in consumer goods (footwear, leather goods, giftware and household items), and takes place every year at the Zao Expocenter Trade Center in Moscow.
For the Moscow fair, ICE (the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade) has organized a new joint participation involving the sectors of leather goods, footwear and furnishings. But it is undeniably Italian footwear that takes pride of place at Consumexpo. Moreover, the Russian market is potentially one of the most interesting for the Italian shoe industry. In contrast to the problems encountered in other countries, there seems to be no crisis for Italian footwear imports into Russia. The retail sales figures for 2008 are estimated to reach between 9.5 and 16.9 billion euros. Last year, according to ANCI (the national association of Italian footwear manufacturers) Russian sales accounted for a quarter of the market in this Italian sector, increasing in value by 25% and in volume by 22% with respect to 2006.
And if Italian exports accounted for 13% of Russian imports of leather or part-leather shoes in 2006, two years later the quota has increased further. Only China comes before Italy amongst the suppliers of shoes to the Russian market. So the "Made in Italy" brand not only beats the big producers like Germany and Vietnam, but has become the prime supplier of high- and medium-quality footwear. And, the progressive transformation of the Russian distribution network in recent years favours a further consolidation of the "Made in Italy" brand. Specialized outlets (accounting for 24% of retail sales), department stores (19%) and commercial centres (9%) are forging ahead in the distribution chain, to the detriment of non-specialized outlets and itinerant traders. And this is a big advantage for Italian footwear.
As the President of ANCI, Vito Artioli, said in April 2008: "The transformation of the retail market is favouring an increase in purchases not only amongst the richest sector of the population, but also amongst the middle classes, who, according to many estimates, represent between 28% and 34% of the population of Moscow and between 22% and 28% of the total Russian population." In practice, this amounts to between 31 and 39 million potential customers. And thanks to Italy's increasing presence in local trade fairs they can be made increasingly aware of what Italy has to offer. The experience of recent years has shown that at such events many Italian exhibitors succeed in laying the foundations for making sales in the Russian Federation a significant part of their foreign earnings.