Major opportunities will be presented to local footwear producers to further develop as local demand is forecast to increase by roughly 8 percent yearly to 355 million pairs by 2020, according to the Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso).

The association estimated that footwear demand in the domestic market in the coming years would increase by more than 10 million pairs yearly thanks to an annual population growth rate of 1.1 percent.

In Vietnam, each person buys an average 1.5 pairs of footwear a year, meaning the whole country uses more than 130 million pairs per year. However, the lack of awareness of Vietnamese brand names, poor distribution and a lack of innovative designs are the main reasons causing Vietnam-made products to be considered inferior to imports.

Chairman of Lefaso Nguyen Duc Thuan said that the industry first of all must develop a trademark and gain a substantial foothold in the domestic market if it wants to ensure the sustainable development of the sector.

Thuan said if local footwear producers dominated the domestic market, paid more attention to building trademarks and produced high-grade products, they could do less outwork for foreign companies, build their reputation in the inter-national market and increase exports to make higher revenue.

Echoing Thuan, Lefaso deputy chairman Diep Thanh Kiet said to achieve the target, domestic enterprises needed to plan their activities and to build their brands which play an important role in holding domestic market share.

In addition, it was necessary to set up a large distribution system where enterprises could gather to sell products at certain sale points, like Viet Shoes Plaza.

Kiet said with Vietnamese products gathered in the same place, consumers would know where to go to purchase Vietnam-made shoes.

He said it was also necessary to establish a centre in charge of inspecting locally made footwear and granting quality certificates.

This would help footwear producers advertise and give Vietnamese consumers confidence in the quality of domestic products./.