Lineapelle, edition number 97, held from 2 to 4 October at Fieramilano Rho to present skins, materials and components of the 20/21 winter season, ended with “a positive outcome, confirming the excellence of its leadership” as declared by its CEO Fulvia Bacchi. From a strictly commercial point of view, the fair has also reflected a particularly complex and internationally differentiated market phase. This is also confirmed by the latest data from the Italian tanning industry, which showed an overall slowdown between 5% and 10% in the partial final balance of 2019. If the skin demand by leather goods brands substantially maintains satisfactory demand levels, the general economic picture of the other (footwear, automotive, furniture, clothing) sectors in fact shows great uncertainty at a global level.

The conjuncture
The same Lineapelle press note speaks of a difficult economic conjuncture due to the current situation of global economic uncertainty, which seems to push some traditional (especially footwear and automotive) customer groups to contain costs and order volumes. In comparison, materials destined to the leather production show greater dynamism, while the furnishing and clothing sectors work on niches.
The trend during the year showed a gradual worsening of demand dynamics with each passing month, while from a geographic perspective sales variation data on the domestic market (approximately -2% in value) appear less intense compared to what has been recorded on the foreign front (which continues to absorb over 75% of the Italian leather production).
In this regard, sector exports, destined every year to around 120 countries, fell overall by 8.7% in value. The results on the main foreign countries of destination appear to be diversified. The Chinese area (China plus Hong Kong) continues to represent the first international landing place for Italian leathers, with a share of 11% of total exports, but the value of these flows fell by over 22% in the period in question.
The market decline involved all the main production segments. The production of bovine hides (both small – calves – and medium to large ones) showed slightly lower reductions compared to the overall sectorial data in terms of volumes, but lost a few more percentage points in benchmark values. The situation for the sheep and goat sectors is instead diametrically opposed to this.

Over 19 thousand visitors
The number of exhibitors at this latest edition has increased (reaching 1,271 units coming from 46 countries), while the visitor trend shows a more discontinuous trend. According to the organisers’ press release, during Lineapelle 97 have entered  “over 19,000 unique visitors, representing around 10,500 companies from 107 countries. This latter figure remains substantially stable with respect to the last edition of February 2019. It reflects the decline in foreign visitor companies, while reassuring the growing figure regarding the presence of national ones as confirmation of how Italy is now the international reference manufacturing hub for fashion brands and start-ups”. In fact, the complicated and globalised market uncertainty has inevitably influenced the presence of buyers at the fair, but with some surprises. In fact, the income of US, Chinese and French operators has increased significantly. To this must be added the positive performances of Japan, Turkey and Denmark. Ho
wever, arrivals from Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom and Portugal decreased.
The next edition of Lineapelle, number 98, will be held at Fieramilano Rho in 2020, from 19 to 21 February.