Italian leather segment loses 26% in 2020

Italy’s leather segment loses 26% in 2020

Italian leather segment had no chances in 2020: the downfall (caused by Covid-19) of all reference markets was obviously going to damage the performance. In fact, UNIC – Italian tanneries’ economic service recorded revenue drop by 26%, while export decreased 26.9%. During the same period, the segment lost 19.6% in volume (with leather for soles down 28.7%). The numbers, significant as they may be, do require additional elements, to be able to give a full picture of the situation. First of all, UNIC points out that “all the main European competitors have experienced a minimum decrement of 20%” in 2020. The situation doesn’t change when venturing beyond the Old Continent’s borders: China -14%, Brazil -18%, India and Turkey -20%. Even more important, during the last quarter the losses for Italy’s tanning segment were “more contained: -15% in value and -11% in volume”, according to UNIC.

26% down

The complex results are tied, as we were saying, to the performances of the reference segment to which tanneries sell their product. The clothing segment suffered most of all. Footwear, leather goods and automotive all recorded downturns from -6% of the automotive market in China, to the -30% of leather goods in Europe. Even in this case, UNIC points out the “softening of the losses“ and “a recovery trend in the last quarter”. The only segment to save itself was, as written on La Conceria n.2, the upholstery one, which, in 2020, was “less paralyzed in Europe (-3%) and even growing in China (+2%) and the USA (+14%).


Based on the analysis by Confindustria Moda, UNIC expects Italy’s fashion system to record a -18.4% performance in the first quarter of 2021, with a gradual improvement to -10% in the second, to then turn back into the positive zone during the 3rd quarter. That is, if “there is an effective advancement of the vaccination campaign, the forecast shows a decisive acceleration toward the end of the year, with the return of regular activities during 2022”. At a global level, says UNIC, “some analysts” believe that ”sales of the fashion industry could remain stable or decrease a further 5% during 2021”. If there were to be additional lockdowns and disruptions due to the pandemic, the market could witness “more severe losses (-10% to -15%)”. The luxury segment should be the exception, with forecasts showing “double-digit growth in 2021 already”.

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