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Male and female shoes


The luxury shoe market in China has been exhibiting strong growth potential over the past few years as the demand for luxury goods and accessories is growing tremendously among Chinese consumers. With this rising demand, the market in China is expected to increase at a strong pace in the coming years with a CAGR of more than 16% during 2012-2015.

According to a Chinese research institute, luxury shoe consumption in China in 2009 was USD 480 Billion, 7% of Chinese luxury market. Bain consulting estimated consumption in the Chinese luxury market was 115 Billion RMB in 2012. Based on the projected growth rate of the luxury shoe sector, consumption in 2012 was USD 829 Million, accounting for 4.7% of the overall luxury market.


In China, more and more consumers love Italian shoes, which many regard as the pinnacle of luxury footwear. According to the annual report of the National Association of Italian Shoemakers in 2012, there was
a 27.6% increase of Italian shoe exports to China that made it the seventh largest export country for Italy.In order to meet the increasing consumption demand and develop the Chinese market, Italian shoemakers are catering to local consumer taste’s and preference’s, such as, reducing the use of pointed toes in men’s shoes as these are not so popular.

Last year, some large luxury brands such as LV and Gucci started to develop their bespoke shoe service in China. By comparison, brands that specialise in making shoes such as John Lobb and Sergio Rossi only entered China in 2005, but have followed a stable store opening expansion strategy.

Shoe brands and the media

Based on our analysis, our 10 luxury shoes brands have used the following media channels for brand promotion to establish their image and recognition in China:

  • Print media: focusing on fashion magazines, but some male shoe brands have had some exposure in business and luxury magazines.
  • Online media: emphasising on Fashion sites including Only lady, Yoka, ELLE and Vogue, and public information sits such as Sina style and QQ fashion.

The expansion  of luxury shoe brands in China

v2 shoes chart


Pricing and ownership



Their retail locations

Map Shoes ranking by city


Consumer behavior towards shoes

Like women globally, Chinese ladies love and have a great affection for shoes that is directly related to their purchase behaviour. Some women buy shoes specifically for special occasions such as weddings and birthday parties, while others buy to match their clothing in terms of styles, colors and so on. In a survey of Chinese woman it was found that they owned 19 pairs of shoes on average, among which only 4 were regularly worn. One sixth of those women surveyed own over 30 pairs of shoes and one third said they struggle to find a place to store new shoes. On average, women buy 4 new pairs of shoes every year, which is supported by our interview with female Chinese luxury shoe consumers. The results show that ladies over 30 regard comfort as the preferred main consideration when buying a pair of luxury shoes, and the brand is still a very important factor and will influence their purchase decision, while younger woman consider more about the design and quality, than the brand and comfort.

By contrast, men buy high quality shoes for three reasons. First, a good pair of shoes is a symbol of status and taste, which can reflect their personality and temperament. Second, it is necessary to find a high quality shoes to match their high quality suits, particularly for formal occasions. Imagine how ridiculous a well-presented man in a nice suit would look and be seen wearing an inferior pair of shoes in business occasion, the loss of face could be huge. Thirdly, a good quality pair of shoes is seen as not only reflecting the taste of the owner but also his attitude towards life. Therefore, buying a good quality pair of shoes is regarded as the life investment for more and more men in China these days. Based on our own interview with a male luxury shoe purchaser, a business owner in his 40s; brand recognition is the first factor he would consider when making a purchase as it is representative of quality and taste, which is indispensible in the social and business environment. The next consideration being style; either formal or informal is completely based on the occasion.

“One standard to judge one person’s tastes is the shoe, especially for men”, a male consumer said.



A taste for shoes in China exists only in the first and second tier cities. This development has gone from recognising sports shoes in the early 90’s, 100% leather shoes in the late 90’s, now to branded shoes, and then handmade tailor-made shoes.

“Women in general have better taste and accept new products much faster than man in China”, said a female consumer.

“Chinese consumers now pay attention to how to match accessories, are concerned about style and the materials used. They are more interested in the trends, fashion, as well as comfort and quality”, said by another female consumer.

“Comfortable is the first demand when people choose shoes in China, and some people also would like to choose a show off pair but not so much”, said a male consumer.

“I would choose a pair of shoes that look fine-made, simple and delicate, well-designed and comfortable as well”, said by a female consumer.

“Smart casual is often welcome by men nowadays”, a male consumer.

“I always wear high heels to work even it’s not comfortable. A comfortable style is for weekends”, a female consumer


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