NEW DELHI—India's sneaker industry has some bounce in its step.
The country's non-leather footwear market was worth $4.3 billion, about 59 percent 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 $469 million 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 93 square kilometers in 2016. This is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.5 percent 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 work force and competitive labor costs are fueling 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 the coronavirus, there have been positive signs. For example, there was a big spike in demand within the athleisure segment during the pandemic. There also is a preference for online shopping, on various e-commerce platforms.
Increasing urbanization, rising household incomes, more connected rural consumers and a general growth in consumer spending also contributed to increase in demand for non-leather footwear.