The question is asked by industry, attentive to the signs of "deepening pessimism" in the near future, although another record year.
APICCAPS, association of industrial footwear, admits "a turning point" in the sector's exports. After closing the year with a record close to 1850 million and add up to an increase of 45% since 2010, sales of Portuguese shoes in the foreign market will slow down, anticipates the Footgrafia, the last leading indicator of economic situation of the sector.
"Rate of loss", "optimism attenuation on the present" and "pessimism of the worsening of the near future" are some of the signs of change detected in the study, alert to indicators such as turnover, external orders or price evolution footwear.
One of the justifications for this analysis is the slowdown in France, the main market for Portuguese shoes, with a share of 20% in exports of the sector in the third quarter of 2014 had a negative annual growth (-0.4%).
Is data that APICCAPS faces with confidence and work. After all, "six years ago that exports of the sector grow at an average of 10% / year, so it's normal, at some point, feel a slowdown in the pace," comments Paulo Gonçalves, Association communications director.
New markets and rapid response
One way to try to counteract this potential break is internationalization efforts in new markets, visible in the presence of Portuguese shoes in 150 countries and in growth rates of 65% in the US (EUR 33 million), 29.9% in Canada (22 million), 26.8% in Australia (7 million), or 46.6% in China (5 million).
However, despite the growth potential in this new front, all together, the non-European markets still represent only about 14% of the sector's exports, against 20% in France.
The path, says APICCAPS, is to continue to invest here and to open new doors, as in Colombia, aware that "it takes time to consolidate the presence and have significant export figures in a new market."
At the same time, the Portuguese footwear industry continues to play with trumps that "help you score more and more the difference with the competition" as the quick response and the production of small series.