Milan’s Micam show is back in person, but digital continues to drive sales – Footwear News
Italian small and medium-sized shoe companies have stepped up their digital strategies during the pandemic – and those efforts are starting to pay off, especially in key markets like China.
Exhibitors at Micam’s Spring / Summer 22 shoe show at Rho Fairgrounds in Milan – which ended today – said first-half sales were saved by strong digital sales performance in the absence of tourist shopping and an overall slowdown in spending.
“Large markets like China are balancing out. We are witnessing a change. They used to travel and now they want to buy from home. And despite the pandemic, sales generated from China increased 106.4% compared to the first half of 2020, ”said Tommaso Cancellara, CEO of Micam.
After a 12-month hiatus from the physical shows, exhibitors were eager to return to face-to-face meetings. Some 652 brands, including 262 foreign, were present at the show. Morale was higher, although the number of exhibitors remains pale by pre-Covid standards of 1,300 exhibitors and 2,000 collections.
Spanish sandal brand Alohas, which last year featured in Micam’s Emerging Designer Showcase, achieves around 80% of its sales online and 20% through its wholesale channel. Her Instagram marketing and the success of her unique on-demand fashion model, driven by her monthly collections, have boosted sales in markets like the United States, which accounts for 40% of her sales.
“Our wholesale business is also growing rapidly, and to create a deep relationship with customers, we have to get to know them in person,” said Alejandro Porras, founder and business developer of Aloha, who highlighted the importance of physical fairs compared to digital fairs.
Last year, Micam launched a B2B digital platform to enhance the digital capabilities of its exhibitors by partnering with California-based technology company NuOrder.
“Buyers can access this final step of ordering,” Cancellara said. He added, however, that high-end buyers will still have to “touch the leather”.
Overall, the Italian footwear industry is in the midst of a hard-won recovery. But “pre-pandemic levels remain out of reach,” according to the Italian shoe consortium Assocalzaturifici.
In the first half of 2021, production increased by 13% and revenues increased by 22% compared to 2020, according to a report by the Italian trade association Confindustria. Compared to 2019, however, sales and production are still 5% and 15% lower respectively. The industry has laid off 5,000 workers in the footwear and components industry since the start of the year.
On the export side, the volume increased 24.8% between January and May, while in value, exports jumped 31.5% compared to the same period a year earlier.
Small and medium-sized business exports have also been aided by tech startups like Italian Artisan, which has built a sustainable ecosystem by connecting premium brands around the world with Italian factories and artisans with just a few clicks.
“Minds have changed as the industry continues to digitize and small and medium-sized businesses embrace a phygital format,” said David Clementoni, founder of Italian Artisan. He noted that the organization doubled its sales in 2021 from its 2020 levels.
Other digital players have stood out for innovative personalized services that are echoed around the world. For example, the personalization project launched in 2020 by Seriplanet, an Italy-based digital and screen printing company, takes personalization to another level and also helps brands resuscitate dead stocks from previous seasons into something completely. original.
“We want to offer this opportunity to buyers, a service that was once reserved only for large groups,” said commercial director Lorenzo del Biondo, explaining that the aim is to put the consumer in direct contact with the stylists. “We want to revolutionize the process by using a drop-shipping method: print in one day and send it. “
Imanol Martínez Gomez, director of marketing and international business development of FICE, the Spanish footwear industry federation, said that, like Italian companies, Spanish players need to act quickly to strengthen their digital capabilities.
“We had a four-year plan, which was condensed into 12 months,” Gomez said. “For the future, the focus is on digital, setting more efficient prices, working closely with retailers and leaner management and production methods,” Gomez continued, noting that the brands Spain, like footwear players around the world, have been hit by an increase in raw materials, up around 30% from a year ago. Italian brands echoed this, noting sharp price increases for calfskin and a fourfold increase in shipping prices due to restrictions and shipping bottlenecks from China and into the channel. from Suez.
“Our strategy going forward is to carefully select retailers and try to support them with lines of credit, while planning marketing events and physical trunk shows in the United States,” said Karl Schlecht, owner from Parabiago Collection, owner of Theyry Rabotin.
The usual space dedicated to Micam’s emerging designers featured articles by 12 creative designers, including Italian Alessandra Balbi, Oakland, Marcus Thomas by Marcus Alexander, from Brazil, Ammabile, Spanish Momoc, OTA Paris, Sri Lanka’s Thread, Skua Studio from the Netherlands, Umoja from Guinea and Congo, the Nigerian Titi Adesa, the Pakistani Meher Kakalia, the Syrian Daniel Essa and the Indian Jerelyn Creado.
Meanwhile, Furla debuted at Miam as part of a refocus on its shoe category as part of its core business.
“Omnichannel, technology and innovation are the best ways to reach our customers… and the new generations who have a more digital approach to purchasing new products. The online facet of our business will need to account for 30% of our sales by 2025, ”said Mauro Sabatini, CEO of Furla, noting that the company’s relaunched footwear collection was driven by predictions of vast potential. growth in the sector until 2025.
In terms of trends, Uberta Zambeletti, owner of iconic Milan concept store Wait and See, noted an increase in chunky platforms and square toes in sandals and closed-toe shoes.
“I was happy to see shiny pastels and metallics and very juicy sorbets in the neon range,” reflected Zambeletti, who launched its digital platform in March 2020, last year, investing heavily in marketing. Facebook and Instagram. “Digital saved us, with 45% of our sales generated by Instagram worldwide. We ended 2020 with a mere 19% drop from 2019, our peak year. I am delighted to say that the US market is growing and is now our second market after Italy.