WFC Leon 2014


World Footwear Congress Leon 2014 Concludes

682 Participants from  32 countries.

Dear friends: During the two days in which the 5th. World Footwear Congress was held, in the city of León, Guanajuato, we had the extraordinary opportunity to meet live some of the most important figures in the Leather-Footwear sector and listen to their experience and perspective on the development, evolution and prospects of the footwear industry worldwide. The Congress left a great lessonfor the footwear industry in Mexico, as there were analyzed issues of vital importance in the sectors’ future.

Several speakers repeatedly stressed the importance of listening to the consumer to adequately address their needs as one of the paths to business success. Similarly, the use of technology, the integration of design as an added value and innovation in business models are essential to consider when planning any manufacturing and marketing strategy.

The challenges that this productive sector will face in the coming years, are not minor, but transform them into opportunities and anticipate through appropriate strategies will enable us to stay in the markets and in the consumer’s preferences.

The footwear industry never stops, sales and marketing strategies have to go beyond selling a pair of shoes, unique experiences and emotions have to be created.

The sense of immediacy brought by the Internet togetherwith the power of social networks in consumer behavior, have dramatically changed business models worldwide, forcing companies to adopt strategies to pursue closer communication with the final consumer and respond more quickly to market changes.

The sustainable processes and corporate social responsibility are more relevant than ever. Consumers are more aware of their environment and the impact that industrialization generates into it. Therefore, consumers closely monitor the practices of brands, which influence a lot in their purchasing decisions.

A substantive issue that Mexico stressed was competition based on fair trade, which certainly contributes to equitable development for all footwear-manufacturing countries. In this sense, the Footwear Industry in Mexico makes an appeal to inhibit and eradicate the illicit trade that predates markets, affecting companies, employment and the progress of a country.

Mexico is positioned as a strategic destination for footwear manufacturing. Its geographical location, logistics and support infrastructure, a strong productive chain supplier-leather-shoes, and backed by a solid industry, which provides quality products and added value at competitive prices, are examples of the various competitive advantages offered by the Footwear Industry in Mexico.

In terms of footwear, our country has a clear development strategy, Mexico represents a real opportunity for trade, has skilled labor and its production is present in major markets abroad, being the great strengths of the Mexican shoe industry.

Finally, we would like to reiterate Mexico’s footwear industry readiness to generate business partnerships to enable further growth and prosperity for all of us who are part of it.

The World Footwear Congress was created by the European Confederation of the Footwear Industry (CEC) more than ten years ago as a platform for discussing the constant changes and challenges that this dynamic industry has faced since the beginning of the globalization. The first three editions of the Congress took place in Europe and the CEC members then agreed to expand the event to other relevant geographical zones around the world in order to strengthen collaboration between all relevant parties, including public authorities, and to increase market opportunities for the business.

As a result, in November 2011, the Congress was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with an attendance of nearly 500 participants and guest speakers from around the world.

For our 2014 venue, the European Confederation of the Footwear Industry has chosen León, Guanajuato, México, which in words of Jean Pierre Renaudin President of the European Confederation of the Footwear Industry, was described “as the most competitive among the candidatures received, and because of it being a clear example of an open market. The Country has signed a significant number of free trade agreements with major trading partners around the world, and it is also a member of the North America Trade Agreement, together with Canada and USA. Furthermore, León produces 70% of the 244 million pairs of shoes made in México, and it is one of the major production areas in the world, with an Industry characterized by a strong commitment to high international quality standards and a reputation for design and innovation”.

The title of the World Footwear Congress 2014 “Keeping one step Ahead: Meeting the challenges of the Footwear sector” wants to endorse how this sector keeps ahead of what the consumer and the Industry want, and how globalization influences the access to the markets, the maintenance of growth and the increased competitiveness.

The Congress will be organized in three panels, each one followed by a round table discussion, with the objective of promoting a free exchange of opinions between all categories of participants. The three main themes of the 2014 Congress will be:

1. Global Footwear consumer with different expectations: The power of brands and the creation of strategies to best confront and understand the variety of consumer demands.

2. The access to Markets: how to cope with the increased number of regulations; the available channels of distribution (multi-brand stores, mono-brand stores, e-commerce, etc.); as well as the role of fairs.

3. Manufacturing – Where the shoes will be made and what shoes will be made of? : Delocalization, outsourcing, relocation, off shoring, etc., along with the challenges of matching demand with the supply of raw materials.

The Congress will benefit from the long-time experience and professionalism of ANPIC and CICEG, co-organizers of the event together with CEC, as well as with the sound reputation of the State of Guanajuato and the city of León in organizing world-renowned international events


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