While the 2019 edition of the reference fair (TheOneMilano, 22-25 February) ended with a slight increase in visitors, the Italian fur sector is looking at the future with a bit more optimism than on the eve before the exhibition. The research made by the Study Centre of Confindustria Moda reflects a situation that is not easy: the production value at retail level for 2018 stands at over 1.2 billion euro, 6.7% less than in 2017. Data, however, must be read taking into consideration the price decrease of skins: China – for years the largest buyer of all international fur skins auctions – has considerably reduced its purchases to favour an internal production, purchased locally, and the result of a modernisation and improvement of its farms. The Chinese choice to reduce its role as an international player has brought down the level of the whole market. Exports of finished garments instead return to historical levels, after an absolutely triumphant 2017 that had seen a + 14.4% increase in Italian exports in the sector. The 2018 percentage reading compared to 2017 shows a -11.7% but the export value analysis speaks of 325.6 million euro in 2018, in line with previous years.
“The historical series of exports clarifies what operators of the sector know based on the expertise acquired – explains the president of the fair, Norberto Albertalli -. Generally a positive year is followed by a year of reflection. This happens because the retail sector all over the world is eagerly procuring Italian furs, making quantitatively important purchases to obtain more advantageous prices; Due to their quality and infinitely superior design to that produced in other countries of the world, Italian furs, however, are also more expensive and more difficult to sell than other productions. They thus have a longer sales cycle and this normally determines a two-year purchasing process”.
In addition to these typical trade-related aspects in the sector there are those based on a more generalised scale, linked to economic issues and trade wars on duties: this is severely affecting exports to Russia, which has always been a reference market for the fur sector, today affected both by a euro/ruble exchange rate that defining it prejudicial would be an understatement (the ratio is about 1/74) and by the change of import rules, which foresee the chip marking of the incoming furs in the Country, an operation that has brought back the interest of purchases relating to local productions.