Brazilian Footwear promotes online meetings with buyers in Latin America

Facing the transformations in business models in the so-called “new normal”, the Brazilian Footwear promotes Online Business Networking Meetings in Latin America, with buyers from Colombia, Chile, and Peru, in August and September. In total, 20 Brazilian brands will be supported by the footwear exports promotion program developed by the Brazilian Footwear Industries Association (Abicalçados) in partnership with the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil).

On the 18th, the initiative started with a preparatory seminar, in which the participating companies got to know the Colombian, Chilean, and Peruvian markets better. The event, held digitally, began with a presentation by the head of the Trade Promotion Department (Secom) at the Brazilian Embassy in Colombia, Franklin Hover, who highlighted the potential of the Colombian market. According to him, the fourth largest GDP in Latin America provides opportunities in an open economy, with over 100 free economic zones, and a government that encourages foreign investments. “The Brazilian presence has been growing in recent years. Last year, total exports from Brazil to Colombia increased by 10.6%,” he said, noting that the country has been feeling the economic and social effects of the new coronavirus pandemic, but that the country is projected to overcome the crisis sooner than most of its Latin American neighbors. Hover also pointed out that last year Brazilian footwear exports to Colombia generated USD 38 million, 2.4% more than in the previous year, and that nowadays Brazil is the fourth origin of shoes imported by the country. 

Complementing the presentation on Colombia, the sales director of the chain store Josh, Zina Maria Saldarriaga, highlighted the growth of e-commerce in the country, of more than 300% during the pandemic alone. "Even though retail felt the effects of the pandemic, the digital commerce sector grew a lot during this period," she mentioned. Jordan Ballenas, a buyer of Baher & Co, pointed out that sales of ballet flats have been growing in the quarantine period, precisely because of the comfort of this type of shoe. According to him, some changes have come to stay on the market, especially relating to the issue of comfort and the increase in digital trade.  

The head of the Secom of Peru, Cauê Fanha, stressed the growth of the Peruvian middle class, which has played an important role in the growth of the local footwear market in recent years, estimated at 1.6%. One of the main suppliers of foreign shoes to Peru, Brazil exported more than USD 36 million to the country last year, a decrease of 7.5% compared to 2018. “There is room for Brazil to grow in the market since there is a trade agreement that canceled the collection of import duties since 2006,” he said. 

Chile was another relevant market for Brazilian footwear presented during the seminar. According to the coordinator of Abicalçados' Market Intelligence Unit, Priscila Linck, in 2019 Brazilian footwear exports to the country reached USD 37.4 million, 2.4% more than in 2018. “The exports of products with higher value-added, made of leather, also stand out in the exporting pattern. They account for 75% of the total generated,” he mentioned. As with other markets, Chilean retail saw e-commerce grow during the pandemic, although brick-and-mortar stores are still the main sales channel for footwear (97%). 

With the companies prepared, the first digital networking meetings, which will be held through matchmaking – pre-scheduled sessions –, will take place with Colombian buyers between August 24 and 28. Subsequently, meetings will be held with Chilean (September 8 to 11) and Peruvian (September 21 to 25) buyers. The brands Marina Mello, Ferrucci, Tresilas, Suzana Santos, Renata Mello, Azillê, Kildare, Medical Line, Parô do Brasil, Parô Cool, 365 Days, Vicenza, Zagga, Marluvas, Klin, Luiza Barcelos, Pé com Pé, GB Footwear, RDi, and Top Boot participate in the meetings.