The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the whole planet with its major impacts on the economy and businesses across the globe. The COVID-19 spread worldwide in unprecedented ways due to its high infectious and contagious nature and lack of availability of its vaccine. As a result, the greatest medical challenge in the 21st century is yet to be faced by physicians worldwide. Though the emergence of the virus can be traced back to Asia, many European countries and the U.S. have been struck massively by the pandemic. The virus has spread across all regions ranging from North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa up to South America. The COVID-19 has been declared as a pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO) due to its increased spread across the globe. After the declaration of the pandemic, various countries announced the complete lockdown, such as India, China, and other Asian countries, to decrease its spread. According to the situation report of November 17, 2021, by WHO, 254.3 million cases of the corona had been reported globally, and 5.11 million patients are dead due to the coronavirus. On a slightly positive note, a total of 7.30 billion vaccine doses have been administered as well.
The demand for footwear sole material decreased in the industries during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 as a result of lesser footwear output in the global market. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the export and import of footwear sole material in various nations decreased. As the demand for footwear fell in 2020, the major brands or manufacturers operated at 25-30% of their maximum capacity.
According to experts of World Footwear, global footwear consumption fell by 22.5% in the pandemic year of 2020. In Europe, the demand for footwear declined by 27%, in North America, demand for footwear declined by 21%, and in Asia-Pacific, demand for footwear declined by 20% in 2020. The revenue of the footwear industry fell by 10%-15% in the pandemic situation as the import and export of footwear declined.
From the above diagram, it can be interpreted that the introduction of the new footwear models fell in 2020. As in 2019, the introduction of athletics shoes and sneakers was 11.00% which fell to 4.15% in 2020. In 2019 introduction of heeled shoes was 12.00% which fell to 5.00% in 2020. The decline in the introduction of new products in the market will harm the demand for footwear sole material in the market.
The government enforced lockdown rules all around the world, are forcing individuals to stay at home. The demand for lightweight sole materials in footwear has plunged as there have been no physical activities, lowering the demand for sports shoes in various games and physical activities.
Due to the factory lockdown and manpower shortage, production in the footwear industry has come to a halt. The virus is wreaking havoc on the economy, shutting down businesses, limiting international travel, and disrupting the production lines of major multinational corporations. When analyzing the global footwear industry in the countries, the big brands have closed their stores, and a few of them have also postponed the introduction of their new collection, lowering the demand for footwear sole material in the market.
Due to COVID–19, prices of footwear sole materials were adversely affected by the downfall in demand for footwear in various industries.
From the above diagram, it can be interpreted that the producer price of synthetic rubber fell at a constant rate due to the fall in demand by the automotive, tire, and footwear industries. The price of synthetic rubber in January 2020 was USD 201.80 million, which fell to USD 183.80 million in July 2020 when the production activity fell due to lockdown. This caused demand for synthetic rubber to decline. The price has been increasing since the lockdown restrictions have been relaxed in most places across the world, and people are getting back to their normal lives. In January 2021, the price was USD 201.20 million, which has raised to USD 228.30 USD million in July 2021.
The COVID-19 crisis has majorly affected the footwear sole material market and its supply chain across the world. Due to the persistence of the COVID-19, lockdown restrictions were implied all around the world, which disturbed the supply chain of footwear sole materials. Because of restrictions in the movements, it was hard for the manufacturers to collect raw materials such as rubber, bio-materials, polyurethane, and leather, among others which, in turn, affected the manufacturing of footwear soles. Also, the restriction movement hit the supply of global manufacturers, which made it difficult for them to supply their products in the global market. With the COVID-19 outbreak, the demand for footwear sole material decreased as people were confined to their homes, and there was a restriction on the supply chain due to loss of labor and movement restrictions.
Manufacturers in the footwear sole material market have faced numerous challenges as a result of the industrial lockdown. The demand for footwear sole material is higher in lightweight flip-flops and sandals as people wear them daily, and it has helped manufacturers earn profits from stock. Manufacturers have also made strategic decisions to cover losses caused by COVID-19 by partnering with other companies to launch new technologies or products or acquire them or merge with them.
Pandemic has taken a toll on every aspect of life, including the global economy. With the significant downfalls in many sectors, a collaborative effort of government, industry players, and consumers can win the fight against COVID-19. It continues to inflict the world with appalling economic and social dilemmas, capable enough to leave severe backlash on the economy for the next several years. The first and second waves had inflicted severe blows to the population as well as the economy.
In 2020, COVID-19 had a bad impact on footwear products, causing the demand for footwear sole material products to fall. The demand for sports shoes and casual shoes has declined across all end-user segments, including men, women, and kids, resulting in lower demand for footwear sole material in the global market.
With the increase in sports and recreation activities and also with the lifting of lockdown, the demand for different types of shoes in different industries will increase and is expected to boost the global footwear sole material market in the coming future. Import and export of raw materials and finished footwear products with other nations will help boost the global footwear sole material market in the near future.