Trade Opportunities for Exporters from Developing Countries (DCs)

·         The best opportunities for DC exporters can be found casual footwear made of natural materials, environmentally friendly footwear and for ethical footwear. These segments are less affected by the economic downturn.

·         Due to a changing EU population and migration, people are more receptive. You can introduce comfortable or multi-functional footwear based on an original concept from Kenya. However, try to include elements of the seasonal fashion trends because seasonality has an impact on purchasing habits of EU consumers

·         Due to the economic recession, opportunities can be found in market niches, for example in outsized footwear, specialised footwear and indoor footwear. There are also opportunities for fashionable footwear in the men and children’s segments.

·         Other opportunities can be found in the growing segment of evening footwear for (working) women, for example (heeled) sandals, espadrilles, mules, sling back pumps, vintage or gladiator style pumps, all of which should be comfortable to wear.

·         As in most Eastern EU countries the footwear market continues to grow, there are opportunities in the economical and medium footwear segments.

·         As the EU footwear industry looks for ways to cut its costs, there will be opportunities created by forming working partnerships. The best form of partnership is likely to be with an EU company with a similar outlook to your exporting company.


The main challenge is the domestic producers in the EU market who have a bigger advantage. The origin marking on a label such as “Made in Italy” or “Made in France” is becoming more widely used by domestic producers, as it has a higher perceived value than a product made elsewhere. However, this should not be a disincentive to Kenyan exporters who can offer uniquely branded footwear, ethnic touch and economically friendly footwear options to EU consumers.

Source: The 2009 CBI – EU Market survey for footwear 2009

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