This CBI market survey discusses the following highlights for the footwear market in the Netherlands: . Dutch consumption of footwear was € 2,413 million in 2006, or 70 million pairs, up by an annual average of 1. 3% over the period, while production fell by 7. 5% to € 82 million or 3 million pairs. . In 2006, the Netherlands imported footwear valued at € 1,793 million, or 191 million pairs. Since 2002 values are up by 3. 2% but volumes are up by an average annual rate of 9%. More than 47% of imports by value (€ 852 million) came from developing countries (76% by volume or 145 million pairs).
The share of imports by developing countries is up from 41% in 2002 in value (€ 653 million), and up from 64% (86 million pairs) in volume terms. The Netherlands?? reliance on imports and its important role as an entry point for onward supplies to other EU countries makes this an important country for exporters. This survey provides exporters of footwear with sector-specific market information related to gaining access to the Netherlands.
By focusing on a specific country, this survey provides additional information, complementary to the more general information and data provided in the CBI market survey The footwear market in the EU?? , which covers the EU market in general. That survey also contains an overview and explanation of the selected products dealt with, some general remarks on the statistics used, as well as information on other available documents for this sector.
The Dutch market for footwear was worth € 2,413 million in 2006, equivalent to 70 million pairs. The Netherlands is the sixth largest EU market for footwear. It is smaller in size than the five largest markets, Germany, France, the UK, Italy and Spain. The Netherlands accounts for 4. 8% of EU footwear consumption (3. 3% by volume). Over the review period the market has increased by an annual average of 1. 3% in value but increased by 2. 2% in volume. This was below the EU average of 1. 9% in value, and virtually equal to the average market volume increase of 2. 3%. 006 was a very good year for the Dutch footwear market. It increased strongly after reversals in earlier years.
Compared to the average EU consumer, the Dutch are quite sensitive to fashion trends and style. At the same time, footwear should be practical and they regard comfort most highly. However, there are indications that fashion and style are gradually becoming more important in purchasing decisions. The major driver of the market growth in 2006 was increased sales of luxury and quality footwear, as men in particular have shown more interest in the high end of the market. Men?’s footwear saw the strongest growth in 2006, as it is most sensitive to the general economic conditions.
The other main footwear types are casual footwear, with a gradually increasing share, now accounting for 47% of the market, or € 1,138 million; formal footwear, with a decreasing share, now accounting for 28% of the market, or € 678 million, and evening footwear, an increasing segment, now accounting for 4% of the market, or € 97 million. Geographic segmentation is less important in the Netherlands due to the relatively small size of the country. However, differences in age and lifestyle can highlight interesting contrasts when trying to understand the Dutch market.
For example, the increasing number of older people in the Dutch population will generate increased demand for casual and sports footwear. In the last ten years, the proportion of Dutch people between the ages of 50 and 79 has increased from 25 to 30% of the population. There has been similar levels of decreases in the number of people aged between 25 and 49. Lifestyle segmentation can reveal buying motivations based on how people live their lives, but the growing trend of individualism in Dutch society makes it more difficult to categorise different lifestyles and draw conclusions about footwear demand.
Market trends The structure of the Dutch retail trade for footwear has been going through changes, which are shaping consumer trends. In 2006, the female consumer proved to be particularly fickle. For example, one week they may buy discount shoes, while the next week they may spend a lot on designer pumps. This makes demand harder to predict and increases the pressure on retailers to rotate their product ranges more frequently in order to keep consumers interested. The growth of clothing retailers that sell footwear is also changing the way the Dutch buy shoes.
Previously not known for a great interest in fashion, this is changing and consumers are now starting to consider their total look when buying footwear, rather than making it an isolated purchase. An interesting new development on the market was the collaboration of Reebok with the world famous Dutch DJ Tiesto who has been voted best DJ in the world several times. The Reebok Tiesto shoes are stylish and perfectly suited for dancing. The shoes incorporate a special Tiesto logo with headphones. This development may herald other initiatives in the market that attracts specialist or specific interest.
Another trend is the re-emergence of brands that existed some time ago, which have been brought back to life in another form. A good example of this is the well-known Dutch sports shoe called Quick. They used to be football boots. Now the name has been reintroduced and a whole new range of fashion-related footwear designs have been introduced using the name. This fits perfectly well with the growing sports lifestyle segment. New designs look something between a sports shoe and a boot. These products are sold by boutiques and specialist shoe shops. This trend will soon also be applied to jackets and other accessories such as bags.
Production Total production The Netherlands has a relatively small footwear industry compared to many other EU countries. Although production has been decreasing over the years, in line with the general trend seen in many EU countries, the remaining Dutch footwear industry produces high quality footwear of good repute. The value of footwear production in the Netherlands in 2006 was € 82 million, or less than 3 million pairs.
Trends in production In order to survive, Dutch companies have had to specialise in products which provide added value and higher margins. This has been essential for survival as costs of production make it impossible for Dutch manufacturers to compete with low cost imports. Manufacturers have not been able to rely on the loyalty of Dutch consumers. With some notable exceptions such as van Bommel, there is no great loyalty towards Dutch-made shoes.
Hence, manufacturers have looked to export markets to maintain and develop their business. Part of this process has been to invest in training and new technologies, as well as increasing the perceived value of Dutch-produced footwear by means of branding campaigns. Some manufacturers have outsourced some or all of their production, and have perhaps retained the design and marketing specialisms at home. Most of this outsourcing has gone to Asia as costs of production are so much lower here than other parts of the world, particularly as quality standards can be high.
An example of this is the Manufacturer Van Lier. Although production of its shoes is increasing, remaining Dutch production is being transferred to India and Portugal. Increases in production of men?’s shoes is as a result of a joint venture with a company in Poland, where most manufacturing of these products takes place. Opportunities and threats + The growth of the footwear market again will provide opportunities for exporters from developing countries. The increasing variety of types of footwear outlet is creating demand for new styles to be supplied to the market more frequently.
Whereas previously a retailer may change his footwear range twice a year, now it is four times or more. The Dutch are open-minded and are receptive to new products and new design ideas, but they are also very critical consumers. Nevertheless, they are an entry point to the EU and as such can also provide good connections to other countries. + There is increasing use of the Internet for purchasing footwear. This is mainly for the purpose of making price comparisons, but it also makes the Dutch very well informed about different products.
Direct selling therefore could become a possibility for exporters from developing countries. – The growing market for fashionable footwear provides opportunities for exporters if they can produce at the prices demanded. However there is a danger in becoming too reliant on this sector of the market. If you are not able to supply quickly and change production at the short-term whim of the fashion market, you could find yourself exposed to the dangers of overtrading. The same development or trend can be an opportunity for one exporter and a threat for another.
The role of importers, wholesalers and agents continues to be important, although more large retailers are now buying directly from manufacturers and bypassing this channel. Hence exporters from developing countries would be advised to identify suitable organisations in this channel in order to reach the retail market. There are 960 agents involved in the sale of textile, clothing, footwear and leather goods. To find an agent, you should contact the Association of Intermediaries. They have a bulletin where you can find contacts.