Footwear makers to create a name on specialty products

MANILA, (PNA) –Philippine footwear exporters are niching on specialty products to generate sales as they expect to post flat revenue growth at around US$ 15.72 million in 2013.

“Normally, it (growth) has been flat for so many years…Because the economies of the markets that we are catering, both of Europe and America, are quite low,” said George Barcelon, Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (Philexport) trustee representing footwear, leather and travel goods sector.

He noted that niche markets like for infant and orthopedic shoes are doing well abroad.

“The focus of most the shoe manufacturers are really on the design. I think, we have an edge there. But those kinds of orders, (the volume is) not big. We are talking about more of like a boutique type of market,” he added.

Barcelon said manufacturers are also tapping more export markets by joining overseas exhibitions.

“I think there needs to be more (product) promotions. (This is through) joining the international fairs to promote Philippine-made products,” he added.

Likewise, Barcelon said industry players have been also focusing on the local market despite the rising import competition amid weaker demand from main overseas markets.

“There is a healthy growth in domestic but (while) it is growing, it is also being serviced by imported goods. It is hard to say you don’t want imported goods because these are really much cheaper, they are very competitive,” he noted.

Barcelon said they are facing stiff competition from products imported like from China, Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam.