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Market Information Papers

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The future looks promising for the footwear market in Canada. Despite a recent downturn in the economy and the falling Canadian dollar, footwear was one of the top performing categories of apparel during the 2014-2015 season. The total market for footwear reached a five year high of $6.6 billion in retail sales in 2014. An estimated 90% of demand is met through imports, mostly from China. Many of TFO Canada’s client countries are also major sources, including Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, India, Mexico, Thailand, Brazil, Bangladesh and Dominican Republic. Sales of footwear closely follow the fashion calendar and weather seasons. Warm winter boots are a necessity during Canada’s famously cold winters, while summer brings on strong sales of athletic shoes and sandals. One of the biggest trends is a push towards comfortable and casual styles that offer orthopedic benefits without sacrificing style. Women are the largest consumer group, with over half of all footwear purchases made by women aged 35 and above. Following the wider growth trends in men’s fashion, the men’s segment is attracting increasing attention and expected be the center of growth in footwear in the coming years. While there are few specific regulatory requirements, many footwear items are subject to high tariff rates. This creates opportunities and cost advantages for exporters from countries with bilateral free trade agreements or least developed countries that are eligible for duty-free access to Canada.

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