The fairs in the leather supply chain were fortunately only affected by the Coronavirus emergency in Italy. In fact, the news of the first Italian infection on the national territory came only on the last day of Lineapelle and Simac Tanning Tech, when the die was already cast. Even the fears of the eve related to repercussions of the Chinese epidemic have already diminished on the first day of the fair which saw the arrival of thousands of visitors from all over the world and made the sector operators breathe a sigh of relief. At the end of the three days of the fair, Lineapelle 98’s final statements (19-21 February) ended “beyond all expectations” representing a result that “confirms its importance for the global supply chain of the fashion and luxury segment by welcoming a number of visitors that reaches 20,000 units” according to the organisers who indicate a 2% percentage growth in turnout compared to the editions of 2019”. A growth highlighted by the admissions of both Italian and foreign operators. An extraordinary demonstration of vitality and solidity, which Lineapelle expressed despite the inevitable absence of Chinese and Far Eastern exhibitors and buyers due to the Coronavirus epidemic.
“Easterners were missing at the fair but other customers were present as usual”, comments also UNIC’s chairman Gianni Russo. A positive exhibition, however not enough to remove concerns about the future related to the slowdown in the global economy. “The first two months of 2020 started with excellent perspectives and this could have been the year of recovery if there had not been the Coronavirus – explains Russo – Now we have big fears of a slowdown in consumption and orders”.
The next Lineapelle edition will be scheduled at Fieramilano Rho from 23 to 25 September 2020 and will be dedicated to the autumn/winter 2021/2022 season.
Italian tanning experienced an export loss of 8%
2019 has not been an easy year for the Italian tanning industry which recorded an overall decrease of 7.3% in production value and 11.6% in terms of volume of square metres of finished leather produced (- 8.2% the variation in kg for the sole leather segment). The reasons for the downward trend – reads UNIC’s Market Insights – are primarily to be found in the strong uncertainties that have characterised (and are still characterising) the international economic scenario. In this difficult context, some customer segments, mainly within the footwear and automotive sector, have implemented heavy cost containment policies, with significant repercussions on the volumes ordered. Results are generally more satisfactory for tanning products intended for leather goods, but with little dynamism in the furniture and clothing sector. If the demand trend appeared highly variable during the year, the geographic detail of sales data shows an average decline on the domestic market which is slightly less intense (-3.9%) compared to the one recorded on the foreign front (which continues to absorb over 75% of the Italian leather production). Exports of the sector, destined every year to about 120 countries, have in fact decreased by 8.2% in value overall and the results on the main foreign countries of destination show rare exceptions to the general negative picture. The Chinese area (China plus Hong Kong) is confirmed to be the first international landing place for Italian hides, with an 11% share of total exports, but the value of these flows during the past year dropped by 23%. A double digit decrease also for Romania (-16%), Spain (-12%), Germany (-12%), Poland (-18%), Slovakia (-14%) and Hungary (-21%), with more contained downturn in France (-2%), USA (-5%), Portugal (-7%), the United Kingdom (-4%), Tunisia (-3%), South Korea (-2%) and Bulgaria ( -7%). The aforementioned exceptions are Vietnam (+ 2%), Serbia (+ 11%), the Czech Republic (+ 14%) and India (+ 17%), in addition to the substantial stability recorded in Albania, Slovenia and Turkey. The economic difficulties did not spare any of the main production segments based on animal origin, with fairly uniform variations in terms of turnover. On the volume front, instead, the production of (both small and medium-large) bovine hides showed slightly lower reductions compared to the overall sector-specific data.