Manufacturers claim that customers might be unable to help purchase the new spring-summer season launches, which have rocked the premium footwear market that sells designer, luxury labels, and high-end sports shoes. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), which is required to approve imports from China and Vietnam, has not certified the footwear factories so that it may be removed from store shelves in the coming months.
The BIS Quality Control Orders (QCO) have been in effect for leather shoes since July, and they will take effect for sports shoes, sandals, and slippers in January 2024. To import and sell these products, factories that make these and specific vital components (like rubber, PVC, or polyurethane heels and soles) must receive certification from BIS per QCO standards.
Chief executive officers of five significant brands who wished to remain anonymous claim that BIS has not yet certified sourcing factories in China and Vietnam, where most imported shoes are sourced for India. According to their account, BIS officials have informed them that they have no interest in accrediting the factories in these markets and will exercise caution regarding manufacturing units in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. This is because they fear that some of these units may be owned by the Chinese, as happens in Vietnam.
“Government officials have said to import from Europe, which will involve higher manufacturing cost and freight, impacting the pricing strategy in India or to manufacture in the country where the expertise for high-end, designer and sports footwear is still limited,” stated the CEO of a major shoe manufacturer.
According to a senior government official, the goal is to encourage homegrown manufacturing because a significant portion of cheap shoes was imported from China. He claimed that numerous extensions had already been requested since the industry, particularly the central and medium-sized firms, was informed of the QCO for 24 footwear and related products in October 2020.
According to the press, Nike had written to the government requesting that it accredit supplier factories in Vietnam and Indonesia to keep importing goods from those countries. Leading sports brand executives stated that although they have already imported the stock for spring, there will be an impact after that.
Specific luxury and premium brands import nearly their whole footwear collection, while other brands such as Woodland, Puma, and Adidas source their high-end and technical footwear from other countries. These imports primarily come from China, Vietnam, and some other Southeast Asian countries.