Expectations for Obuv were not high and this was reflected in the results of the latest edition: the Moscow exhibition of shoes ended with a turnout that held steady in numbers, but which was at a complete standstill in terms of business. “Obuv held no surprises for us – commented Arturo Venanzi, Assocalzaturifici councillor in charge of the Russian area – We were not expecting a dynamic edition of the event and this is exactly what was confirmed. In any case, it’s an important tool for presiding over the Russian market, while officially ending the season for business that first began in Micam, and for some even at Expo Riva Schuh. Buyer numbers more or less coincided with the turnout of the last few seasons, while the number of orders booked was inferior”.
What are the reasons behind this standstill in business? “The list is long – continues Arturo Venanzi – from customs to the uncertainty surrounding obligatory country of origin labels that should go through a trial period in July to then become effective in February. The particularly mild winter season was not exactly helpful either, except during the period of sales. There was then the rise in e-commerce that is stealing a lot of business away from retailers. And the ‘sneaker phenomenon’ that has taken over from west to east, to the detriment of the Made in Italy product”.
Even if Russia is a market in crisis, it is always the sixth destination for Made in Italy – during the first eleven months of 2018, Italian exports to Russia arrived at 5.2 million pairs, for a value of 316 million euros, down -11.5% compared to the same period in 2017. Thus, it remains a market in which Italian companies continue to invest. For them, Obuv is an essential rendezvous for meeting up with partners from every region of Russia and the neighbouring CSI area: 130 Italian businesses out of a total of 200 exhibitors coming from 13 different nations took part in the event, meeting up with around 12 thousand visitors, with numbers more or less on the same level as the last few editions.
Providing support to the Italian businesses was the ICE Agency, which organised a series of incoming services to attract buyers from the different regions in Russia, followed by a retail mapping of the area’s 12 biggest cities. Another important opportunity for networking at the fair was represented by the organisation of a light lunch, which allowed for moments of socialisation between businesses and Russian buyers.