Representing two shops in Thailand, Manu Grover has been working in the footwear industry for over 15 years and currently also works with shopping malls, e-commerce and e-retailers. In June, he visited Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags for the first time, where we met him to learn more about the Thai market.
What is the general situation of the footwear market in Thailand?
"In Thailand, the footwear market is currently divided into two main categories, the casual supporters and the leather goods lovers. The most common, and also the most popular, is the casual, easy-going style, with the sneaker as the undisputed protagonist. The leather footwear category, on the other hand, is not as widespread as its counterpart, but includes several admirers who appreciate the quality leather product".
From your visit to the fair, did you spot any particular trends for next spring/summer 2023?
"From what I could see, casual style will continue to be very successful in Thailand. It is likely that this also depends a lot on the Thai culture, which much prefers comfort over so-called business looks".
How does Thailand approach the issue of sustainability?
"Also in Thailand, as in the rest of the world, a culture of sustainability is emerging, albeit more slowly than in other markets. Some manufacturers have already started to apply sustainable solutions and others are beginning to realise its importance. Not all of them, however. Unfortunately, there are those who are still a long way from going in a greener direction".
What are the problems plaguing the supply chain?
"I think the pandemic has created quite a few problems with the supply of raw materials, worldwide as well as in Thailand. The shipping by sea, the container issue, the timing, the logistics costs that have increased by 20-30%: all this is a big problem. And it is still a problem, especially with regard to rising prices. The situation is not improving so far, although we hope it will be resolved soon".
Since this is your first time at Expo Riva Schuh, what are your impressions of the fair?
"I have known about this trade fair for many years but have never had the opportunity to visit it. This time I am really glad I did! Riva del Garda is an amazing and wonderful location, and the way the trade fair is structured is also incredible. In the same place you can meet any kind of company and find many different private labels. Turkey, India, Pakistan… you can find producers from all over the world in one place at the same time. A truly incredible opportunity!"