The annual earnings of Brazil’s footwear industry amount to US$ 10 billion. Each year the sector produces 700 million pairs, of which 180 million are exported.
Nevertheless, the Brazilian Footwear Industry Association (Abicalçados) considers this level of foreign sales modest. For the past years the Association has been developing a policy to expand foreign sales and diversify markets.
According to Heitor Klein, Executive Director of the Abicalçados, the United States continues to be the principal market, with 65% of what is shipped abroad.
Next come the United Kingdom, Argentina, and Mexico. The entrepreneurs have their sights set on Eastern Europe, beginning with Russia, which already imports the equivalent of US$ 6 million per year.
“Clearly, this is still a very modest figure, but what is important is that we raised it from US$ 2 million to US$ 6 million. Through the events we are holding, we hope to reach US$ 20 million in two or three years,” says Klein, who participated in the Brazil-Russia Fashion show, a business fair where Brazilian fashion products were presented to the Russian market.
One of the advantages mentioned by Klein is competitive prices. “What Brazil has to offer is quite varied, with prices ranging from US$ 5 to US$ 30 – that is, accessible to all segments,” he says,
The problem, according to the entrepreneur, is the matter of logistics, since geographical and cultural distances make it difficult to sell directly to retailers.
The Brazil-Russia Fashion show, organized by the Export Promotion Agency, began on September 24 and ended yesterday, September 28.
During the fair, an anonymous representative of ten stores in Moscow and Saint Petersburg bought all the jewelry on display, estimated to be worth US$ 100 thousand.
Besides this purchase, contracts were concluded for over US$ 200 thousand in the next six months.
According to Hécliton Santini, President of the Brazilian Institute of Gemstones and Precious Metals (IBGM), Russian consumers, who are more accustomed to gold, are looking for distinctive items, such as Brazilian models that contain gems and semi-precious stones.
“The Russian middle class is eager for a product that is neither as expensive as gold nor as cheap as costume jewelry. Russian buyers were surprised by the quality, creativity, originality, and competitive prices of our jewels,” he remarked.
The Brazilian jewelry sector turns over US$ 1.7 billion annually, of which nearly half represents exports to 85 countries. The chief buyers are the United States, Japan, and the European Union.
Translator: David Silberstein