Domestic footwear companies increasing market share for Nepal

Nepal´s footwear import is gradually decreasing as local footwear companies come up with stylish and affordable yet qualitative products.

According to the data of Trade and Export Promotion Center (TEPC), country´s footwear imports came down by around Rs 30 million to Rs 1.18 billion over the first five months of the current fiscal year.

“Domestic footwear companies are increasing their market share and substituting imports. They enjoy more than 50 percent share in the country´s footwear market,” Tej Singh Bista, director at TEPC, told Republica. Bista further said market share of local footwear producers hovered around 25 percent two or three years ago.

“The industry is growing at the rate of 15 percent since couple of years. If the growth rate continues for some more years, Nepal will be self-reliant on footwear,” he added.
Not only is import of footwear declining. Nepali footwear companies are finding market outside the country as well. According to TEPC, Nepal footwear companies exported products worth Rs 900 million during the review period to international market, mainly India.

Footwear manufacturers are excited with the pace the industry is growing. They are optimistic that the country will be self-reliant on footwear once the government brings programs to encourage the use of domestic products.

“Our products can compete with international brands. The government should encourage traders by reducing duties on raw materials,” Hom Nath Upadhyay, president of Leather Footwear and Goods Manufacturing Association, said. Saying that the domestic footwear market is growing at rate of 15-20 percent, Upadhyay said, “We can compete with foreign brands only if we provide quality products at comparatively cheaper rates.”

According to the association, more than 30 million pairs of footwear are sold in the country annually. Local companies sell around 17 million pairs.
Shikhar, Run, BF Dear Hill, Takura, Fitrite, Bagmati and Sky Shoes are among the leading domestic footwear brands.
Though government officials acknowledge that footwear industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the country, they have been failing to bring concrete programs to give the industry a shot in the arm.

“The industry lacks skilled manpower. Also, domestic footwear companies are not laying much focus on promotion. This is why they can´t compete with foreign brands,” Toya Narayan Gyawali, officiating secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Supply (MoCS), told Republica. He called upon the private sector to come up with suggestions so that the government can launch effective programs for the industry.

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