Colombia, tanning and accessories suffer while the country’s economy grows

Colombia, concia e accessori soffrono mentre il Paese cresce

Tanning and accessories in Colombia suffer. Production, sale and jobs all decreased in 2019, while other industries in the country grew an average of +3.3%. As reported by, tanneries closed the year as one of the worst segments at a national level. As a consequence, the footwear segment is also losing revenue.

Tanning and accessories lose ground

According to data reported by the Colombian portal, the tanning segment’s revenue in 2019 decreased by 22%, while the number of jobs in the industry lost 8%, in comparison to the previous year. The performances are reflected throughout the chian. Footwear companies, for example, manufactures 6.9% less pairs, leading to a decrease in revenue of 2.7% and of 7.7% of occupation.


Foreign revenue of local tanneries went from 11 million to 9.6 million USD from 2018 to 2019. Moreover, the quota of wet blue sold, over the total, has increased, meaning that what is being sold is a semi-finished good with less value. Leather goods’ sales went from 97 to 82 million USD during the same period. The challenges, according to ACICAM0s president Luis Gustavo Flórez, are due to “the general weakness of leather prices on international markets, today substituted often by textiles and synthetic materials”. At the same time, the devaluation of the Peso (local currency) could incentivize exports, but the problem is that the chemicals needed to tan the hides are purchased in US dollars.

Unfair competition

According to Flórez, the footwear segment is suffering due to a specific issue: illegal imports. Allegedly, Colombian ports receive a lot of counterfeit products, and according to what reported by the Colombian portal, authorities estimate about 9 million pairs of shoes enter the country in this manner every year. Shoes are then re-sold by normal stores as well. As a whole, 105 million pairs of shoes are sold in Colombia each year, half of which is manufactured inside the country.

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