New Delhi – India’s non-leather footwear market was worth $4.3bn, about 59% of the overall footwear market in 2018–19. These figures come from a study conducted by Invest India, a national investment promotion and facilitation agency.
Between March 2020 and April 2021, India exported $469m of PU footwear. The country exports this type of footwear to 189 countries.
Additional research by the agency found that the demand for polyurethane artificial leather market in India was 93km2 in 2016. This is projected to grow at a CAGR of 7.5% between 2017 and 2025.
As part of the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, the footwear industry has been chosen as a Champion Sector. The growing domestic market, large workforce and competitive labour costs are fuelling its growth.
Growth strategies identified by the study include building plants in India to make MDI and polyols basic raw materials, which would give manufacturers access to PU resin at a more competitive price. Large component manufacturers making synthetic materials, soles, heels and other footwear accessories are being encouraged to set up shop in India. There is also a focus on the design and development of new products, R&D collaboration, technology transfer and worker training.
The overall non-leather footwear market in India is set to grow significantly in the coming five years. Despite the impact of coronavirus, there have been positive signs. For example, there was a big spike in demand within the athleisure segment during the pandemic. There is also now a preference for online shopping, on various e-commerce platforms.
Increasing urbanisation, rising household incomes, more connected rural consumers and a general growth in consumer spending also contributed to increase in demand for non-leather footwear.