Looking at the financial results of Conseil National du Cuir, there are two conclusions that can be drawn. The first is that French leather is still dealing with the consequences of Covid (to which the ones of the war in Ukraine need to be added). The second is that, out of the entire chain, only handbags managed to put the pandemic behind and record strong growth in volumes and values.
The 2022 of French leather
In 2022, writes CNC, production of bovine leather recorded a 15% increase on yearly basis but it’s still 7% below that of 2019. Production of calf hides, meanwhile, grew 9% on 2021 and 2% compared to pre-Covid. The result for ovine hides is conflicted, as it grew 17.5% on yearly basis but still -17% on 2019. Overall turnover was up 8% on 384 million compared to 2021, but still 9% behind pre-pandemic levels. Finished products? CNC says that footwear production increased 5% on yearly basis, but still far behind 2019 (by 19%). Similarly, turnover is 7% down from the 713 million euro of 2019. Regardless, CNC points out that the increase in price dictated by inflation is favorable for the recovery.
The only segment recording only positive results was the handbags one, along with leather goods and small accessories. In 2021 the segment had already recorded a 25% increment on 2019, with a total turnover of 4.2 billion. In 2022 it confirmed growing production volumes (+22% on yearly basis and +9% on 2019). The trend is also confirmed by export data (available for the first 8 months of the year), where the chain’s average is +21%. Raw material for the tannin segment, strictly tied to import demand from Italy, increased 8% on yearly basis, while finished leather grew 19%. With regards to products, all categories grew: footwear (+23%), leather goods (+21%) and gloves (+13%).