Assopellettieri - (Italian Leather Industry Association) (Z1533) 20.09.2021-1


Leather goods at the moment of truth: rebound or start of a solid recovery? The data of the first half of the year show significant recoveries on 2020 for all indicators: +43.1% for industrial production, +31.3% for exports in value driven by the luxury multinationals, +22.9% for retail sales on the domestic market, +29.5% for the turnover of the members reached by the survey of the Centro Studi di Confindustria Moda.

Just as in March, the comparison with the months of the lockdown - in which the sector had suffered very heavy downturns - favoured the achievement of considerable increases in the second quarter. With the sole exception of exports, however, which show a gap with the first 6 months of 2019 contained in a -11% in value (and -6.2% in KG), the other variables show gaps close to or greater than -20% on two years ago. The second half of the year will be decisive for a return to normality in a reasonably short time.

The recovery, however, has so far been patchy and multi-speed: if the luxury brands have recorded significant performances, thanks to which they have exceeded in several cases the pre-Covid levels, for the majority of companies the inevitable comparison with the situation before the pandemic still indicates significant gaps to be bridged: for 6 out of 10 companies the current revenues are "much lower" than in the first half of 2019.

Leather goods, like the other sectors of the Fashion System that were hard hit by the health emergency - which severely limited for months the occasions of use and the tourist flows, with the relevant purchases - after the annus horribilis 2020 has restarted; first of all, in a context of strengthening of world trade, with exports: among the top 10 destination markets - which in the period January-June 2021 all show, with the sole exception of the United Kingdom, sustained recoveries on last year - China, France and South Korea stand out, growing strongly even compared to the levels of two years ago.

On the domestic front, comforting signals come from the data of May and June, months in which the Istat index of retail trade was, albeit slightly, above 2019 values.

The effects of the pandemic on the fabric of small and medium-sized enterprises that make up the backbone of the sector are, however, serious: in the first 6 months of the year, Chamber figures show a negative balance of 157 companies, including industry and crafts, while the possible consequences on employment levels are worrying: in addition to the loss of the workforce employed in the companies that have ceased, critical issues also emerge from the sample survey on the Associates, according to which 42% of the sample companies have suffered a reduction in the number of employees compared to the 2020 final balance. A further record in the number of hours of redundancy payments authorized in the leather sector: 40.5 million (+3.8% on 2020), more than ten times (+916%) the number of hours in the first half of 2019.

The analysis of the trend of the main economic variables in the first half of the year gives similar indications: all show significant recoveries compared to the first half of 2020 (understandably, given the very low pace of activity in the months of lockdown due to the restrictions then in force), but still significant gaps compared to the pre-emergency situation.

The ISTAT index of industrial production, after the leap of the two-month period March-April (+246%) has marked in May-June, for the item "travel goods and leather goods", a +47.3% trend. So the upward trend continues, but the cumulative figure for the first 6 months (+43.1% compared to the same period in 2020) is still -21.3% lower than two years ago.

The quarterly survey conducted by Confindustria Moda revealed - for the sample of associated leather goods manufacturers - an average increase in turnover in the first 6 months of 2021 equal to +29.5% compared to last year.

Even in this case, the recovery is absolutely partial: the gap with the turnover that the panel had in the first half of 2019 is around -25%. Only 28% of respondents indicated that they had reached or exceeded the revenues of the first half of 2019; for 7 out of 10 companies, however, they were still "slightly lower" than then (12% of the sample) or "much lower" (60%).

As many as 73% of the sample of Associates experienced positive dynamics in turnover in Q2 (and for 54% the increase was more than +20%), with order intake up by +28.8% in value on April-June 2020.

The recovery of revenues is destined to continue also in the 3rd quarter (as indicated by 3 entrepreneurs out of 5), even if the percentage of companies planning to resort to redundancy funds also in the third part of the year remains high (54%) (an indication of a still subdued pace in many realities). This is therefore an uneven picture.

Among the critical issues that companies have to face in this phase, the tensions on the front of raw materials, whose price lists from the end of 2020 have undergone significant increases: if for 31% of operators reached by the association survey, prices in the second quarter of 2021 have remained at very high levels of previous months, according to 58% of the sample they have even increased further.

Encouraged by progress in the adherence to vaccination campaigns and the cancellation/relaxation of many restrictions (such as the reopening of shops in shopping centres at weekends in Italy from May), demand has picked up again, both at home and abroad, albeit at different rates and with some differences.

On the domestic consumption front, the Istat cumulative index for the value of Italian retail sales of footwear and leather goods in the first half of the year marks a +22.9% on January-June 2020, while remaining -19.5% below 2019 levels. Beyond the predictable surge in March and April, the most comforting data is the achievement in May and June of pre-crisis values (+1.4% and +0.7% compared to the same month in 2019): a first sign of a return to "normality", although it should be taken into account that 2019 levels were not particularly rewarding.

The problem of the lack of income from purchases by foreign tourists visiting Italy, first and foremost in the luxury segment, is of considerable importance. Although tourism in 2021 has slowly restarted (especially thanks to Europeans, traditionally not big spenders), tourism in the cities - more linked to fashion shopping - is still suffering greatly.
Even more lively the dynamics of demand from foreign markets: exports closed the first 6 months of 2021 at €4.62 billion (re-exports included), with +31.3% in value over January-June 2020, remaining however lower by -11% over the first half of 2019. In quantity (KG), recovery of +30.2% on last year; the gap with 2019 is -6.2%.

The breakdown by product type and market shows a varied situation.

An examination by commodity shows double-digit recoveries on 2020 for both leather goods (just over +20%, both in volume and value) and those made of other materials (+37% in KG and +57% in value, with excellent performances for bags). But while the latter have already exceeded 2019 levels, leather products, characteristic of Made in Italy craftsmanship, are still lower overall by -20% compared to two years earlier. Going down in detail of the items, leather bags, which cover almost 2/3 of the foreign turnover, present a +20% in value on 2020 (and a gap around -19% on 2019); belts and small leather goods (wallets, purses, key rings and pocket or handbag items) increases close to 30% in value on 2020, but at the same time gaps in the order of -28% with the pre-Covid situation.

Turning to the markets, the top25 shows almost all destinations recovering in value close to, or more often than, +20% on 2020; only the United Kingdom (-31.5%), the Netherlands (-4.6%) and Romania recorded a drop after last year's setback; stable (-0.5%) was Singapore, which unfortunately had already undergone marked setbacks in the years prior to Covid.

Particularly favorable (also compared to the pre-pandemic situation) were the export trends to France (which grew by +42% in 2020 and +21% in value over 2019) - where the component of subcontracting for luxury brands is significant - China (flows doubled in value over 2020 and grew by +43.5% over 2019) and the South Korean market (increases of over 25% in value over both 2020 and 2019).

Luxury brands played a decisive role in the exploit in these two countries, the main outlets in the Far East area, as shown by the significant increases in average prices per KG (+18% on 2020 for China and +13.4% for South Korea).
The European Union partners (considered to be 27 countries, post Brexit) present, globally, a better trend compared to non-EU destinations (with increases of over 35% on 2020 in both value and KG, thanks to which they exceeded 2019 levels by +3.5%). In addition to the already mentioned France, the results in Germany (first customer by quantity) and Poland stand out.

Outside the EU (which, although increasing overall by 30% on 2020, still remains more than -15% below 2019 values), the first interesting signs of recovery are finally coming from the Russian market, which has suffered greatly in recent years, and which has exceeded January-June 2019 levels by 22% in value. The USA is also doing well - certainly facilitated by the suspension, at least temporarily, of the war of duties with the EU, which risked involving, as an American retaliation, also leather goods and other fashion sectors - and Japan: recoveries of over 55% on 2020 for both. Exports to Switzerland, the traditional logistic-distribution hub and the first destination in terms of value, while growing by +20%, remain well below 2019 values (-28%).

Incoming flows are slow: after last year's slump, imports of leather goods in the first half of 2021 show a weak +2.7% in value, with a further drop in quantities (-10.5%). China, by far the first supplier in terms of volumes (it covers almost half of them), shows a -23% drop in KG, with -8.5% in value.

The trade balance is in surplus by €3.32 billion (a recovery of +47.4% over H1 2020), although it is still -8.3% lower than in January-June 2019.

The figures for business demographics and employment are affected by the economic crisis triggered by the pandemic.

According to Infocamere-Movimprese figures, the number of active companies in Italy dropped by 157 units in the first 6 months of 2021, considering both industry and craftsmanship. For Tuscany, where almost half of the leather goods companies are based (48%), the drop was equal to -126 units; -18 the balance for Lombardy, second in the ranking. Among the first 7 regions with a leather goods vocation (which together cover almost 90% of the total number of companies), only Emilia Romagna and Veneto show positive balances compared to last December (+3 and +13 respectively).

The delays in registering cases of cessation of activity in the Chamber of Commerce database suggest that the effects of the crisis on the productive fabric will be even more evident in the figures for the months to come.

As far as employment is concerned, even though official data is still lacking, the survey conducted by Confindustria Moda highlights how, although the relative majority of the Assopellettieri members who responded (46%) declared stability in the workforce with reference to the first half of the year, the quota of companies with declining employees - in compliance with legislative constraints, given the freeze on redundancies in force - was decidedly higher (42%) than the indications of growth (12%).

Moreover, the use of wage supplementation instruments remains very high. The CIG hours authorised by INPS for companies in the leather chain (in addition to leather goods, therefore, tanneries and shoe factories) recorded a further increase in the first 6 months (+3.8%) compared to the record figures of January-June 2020 - with +2.6% for blue-collar workers (30.9 million hours) and +8.1% for white-collar workers (9.6 million) - taking them to levels ten times higher than the pre-Covid situation: 40.5 million hours authorised; they were 4 million in the first half of 2019.

Tuscany is the region with the highest number of hours granted (10.3 million, +3.1%, with 3.3 million hours in Florence and the same number in Pisa), followed by Campania (7.4 million, +45%, with Naples first in the ranking of provinces with 5 million hours, +52%), Marche (6.9 million, +13.6%) and Veneto (where the hours were reduced by 1/3, down to 5.4 million).

A result, that of the leather sector, which goes against the trend if compared to the total Italian sectors, showing a reduction of -20.3% compared to the first half of last year, mainly due to the marked decreases in the mechanical, metallurgical, chemical and wood-furnishing sectors.

In the second half of the year, 70% of associates expect a further improvement in market trends compared to the first half of the year. The next few months will be decisive for the sector to embark on the virtuous path of a sustained recovery, which will benefit not only the big luxury brands but also the many companies with their own brands, or at least small ones: if so far only 30% of member companies have stated that they have experienced the start of recovery, 62% believe that this will happen between autumn 2021 and spring 2022, obviously allowing for variants of the virus and new outbreaks.


Compared to the period when the lockdown was in force most companies experienced a sharp increase in turnover: indeed, 73% of the panel saw an increase in revenues compared to the second quarter 2020. For more than half of the companies (54%) this increase was greater than +20%. Nevertheless, 4% of companies had no increase on the unsatisfactory turnover levels from 2020 and 23% even experienced further reductions.

So the situation remains not homogeneous and unfortunately there are companies that still struggle to experience rewarding trends.

Considering the first 6 months of the year, by weighting responses according to company size we obtain an estimate of the average upturn in turnover for the companies in our sample of +29.5% compared to the first half of 2020; this means we are still well short of pre-pandemic levels in the first half of 2019 (about -25%).
In terms of the second quarter, almost 70% of leather goods manufacturers involved in the survey reported an increase in the order backlog; for half of respondents, this increase was more than +20% in value. The percentage of companies from the sample that experienced an increase or at least stability increased to 77% (up from only 38% in the previous quarter). However, 23% of companies reported a reduction in new orders and pointed to continued difficulties in various destination markets.

Weighting responses according to company size gives us an average variation of +28.8% in the value of new orders for the sample during the second quarter.

3. The TURNOVER in the FIRST 6 MONTHS of 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels in the first half of 2019 was...

Despite the sharp rise in the second quarter, pre-pandemic levels are still some way off: only 28% of the panel stated they had exceeded (16% of respondents), or at least equalled (12%), turnover levels for the first six months of 2019. 72% of leather goods manufacturers involved in the survey stated that they had not bridged the gap with 2019 turnover levels; while 12% of entrepreneurs reported a turnover in the first half of 2021 that was only slightly lower than pre-pandemic levels, a significant majority (60% of the sample) reported that current levels are much lower.
4. What is your TURNOVER forecast for the THIRD QUARTER 2021 (July-September) compared to the same period in 2020?
5. In JUNE 2021, compared to December 2020, the WORKFORCE of your company was…
46% of leather goods manufacturers reported no variation in employment levels at the end of June compared to the situation six months ago. 42% reported a reduction (as permitted by the applicable legal constraints). A significantly smaller number reported increases (12%)

6. What do you expect the WORKFORCE of your company to be in DECEMBER 2021 compared to the current level?
In response to the request for a forecast at the end of the year, 54% of entrepreneurs stated they expect stability around current levels, while 35% a reduction. Few entrepreneurs expect an increase in the workforce (12%).
Most of the companies in the sample (60%) expect the recovery to continue in the third quarter (most probably at a slower rate as the V-shaped recovery comes to an end or slows down). The remaining 40% is divided equally between those who expect a substantial invariance in turnover and those who instead expect a further reduction compared to 2020’s unsatisfactory levels.

7. Does your company expect to use social security instruments (CIG wage support or similar instruments) in the THIRD QUARTER 2021 (July-September)?

8. Even in the Fashion supply chain a sharp increase has been reported in the price of raw materials since the end of 2020. In the SECOND QUARTER 2021 you found that these prices …
With regard to the third quarter, 53.8% of the panel expect to use social security instruments – this represents a reduction compared to the first two quarters of the year (it was close to 76% of the sample in the first quarter and 77% in the second), although the level remains high.
There is no sign of respite in terms of pressure on prices of raw materials: while 31% of operators confirmed that prices had remained on par with the very high levels from previous months, 3 out of 5 leather goods manufacturers reported further increases in prices in the second quarter 2021 (58%). Only 11% of the panel did not experience any particular criticalities.
9. In your opinion, for your company the start of the recovery…
10. How long do you think it will be before you return to your pre-pandemic number of CUSTOMERS?
Looking more specifically at company sentiment with regard to the evolution of the economic situation, a good 30% experienced the start of the recovery "back in spring 2021". Another 62% of the interviewees expect the recovery to occur between autumn 2021 (31%) and spring 2022 (31%). The share of those who expect even longer times is limited: autumn 2022 for 4% of respondents and "no earlier than 2023" for the remaining 4%.

11. In your opinion, compared to your expectations at the start of the year, your company’s results in the FIRST HALF of 2021 have been…
Prudence remains the prevailing sentiment even in terms of the timeframe required for returning to the pre-pandemic situation for customer portfolios: only 4% of the sample believe they will achieve this during the course of 2021. 58% expect this may occur in 2022. Compared to the previous survey there was a decrease in the number of pessimists: 27% of the panel believe they will have to wait until 2023 for a recovery; while 11% fear they will never fully get back all their customers. These two options accounted for 48% in the previous survey.

12. Compared to the first half of the year you expect the market in the SECOND HALF of 2021 to be…
27% of interviewees were positively surprised by their performance in the first half of 2021; for 42% of the sample trends have been in line with their expectations at the start of the year. More than 30% of respondents were disappointed as they experienced results that were inferior to expectations (with 8% of these experiencing results that were "much worse").
We also see cautious optimism in opinions regarding market trends for the second half of 2021. 7 out of 10 operators reached by the survey expect an improvement in general demand conditions in the second half of the year; 19% think that the situation will remain unchanged; 12% of the panel fear a worsening.
comparison with the same period of the previous yearand with the pre-pandemic levels of January-June 2019
Exports by product type and raw material Period:
Value in euro (millions)
January-June 2021
Exports towards the main Countries of destination
Period: January-June 2021 Ranking top 25 per value
Average prices of the main destination Countries (€/KG)
Period: January-June 2021Source
Imports by product type and raw material Period:
Value in euro (millions)
January-June 2021
Imports from the main Countries of origin Period:
Ranking top 25 per value
January-June 2021
Average prices of the main Countries of origin (€/KG)Period:
January-June 2021
First six months of 2021 - Sector of activity: “Hides, leather and footwear”
AUTHORISED HOURS OF WAGE SUPPORT in favour of factory and office workers
Assopellettieri - (Italian Leather Industry Association) (Z1527) 16.09.2021-2
22nd-24th September 2021: MIPEL Lab makes its debut
President of Assopellettieri Franco Gabbrielli   Lineapelle CEO Fulvia Bacchi

Milano, 16 September 2021 - MIPEL Lab, the innovative and revolutionary project conceived by Assopellettieri, dedicated to the sourcing of Italian leather goods, makes its debut at LINEAPELLE - the world's most important exhibition for sourcing leather, materials and accessories for the fashion, luxury and design industries.
A physics, that is a new fair format in collaboration and at the same time with Lineapelle (22-24 September at pavilion 13 of Fieramilano Rho).
And a digital one, which goes beyond the 3-day presence at Lineapelle. In fact, Mipel Lab is also an "all year long" match-making platform developed by Assopellettieri in collaboration with EY and with the support of the software house DS GROUP, able to easily put the best Italian leather goods producers in contact with national and international luxury brands.
The objective of MIPEL Lab is to become the point of reference for exclusively "Made in Italy" sourcing, a link between manufacturers, brands and designers.

The President of Assopellettieri Franco Gabbrielli says: "The main objective of MIPEL Lab is to involve brands that are not present in Italy today and provide them with an innovative service to put them in contact with the most suitable producer for their needs, creating new important business alliances with national and international operators. The project meets the real need of the supply chain to join forces, because today more than ever it is essential to work as a team. Being a partner and inside LINEAPELLE is strategic, because luxury brands, designers, private labels and startups can find high profile production partners and, at the same time, discover ideal leathers and materials to create their collections. ”

This is what Lineapelle CEO Fulvia Bacchi says "We are really satisfied that Lineapelle hosts MIPEL Lab, a project that we started talking about with Assopellettieri even before the pandemic. Our fair, which has the ambition to contribute with concrete initiatives to enhance and promote the development of the entire leather industry made in Italy, is enriched and takes a further step in this direction through a high-profile synergistic operation. Italian leather goods manufacturing expresses an unparalleled quality in terms of product and service. A leadership that, by creating a system with Lineapelle's product offer and its stylistic proposal, thanks to MIPEL Lab will give rise to significant and stimulating opportunities for evolution".

MIPEL Lab is an "exclusive club" to which only Italian producers of excellence belong. The companies that will be present at MIPEL Lab during the three days of LINEAPELLE and that have firmly believed in the new project are: Bric's, Dimar Group, Mabi International, Most, Metal Studio, P&C, Pelletteria Fiorentina Montecristo, Rica, Pelletterie Sagi, Sapaf, Tigamaro, Tripel Due, Tivoli Group, to which several others will be added in the coming months.

Assopellettieri - (Italian Leather Industry Association) (Z1471) 20.03.2021-3
Short term note prepared by the study centre

The pandemic presents its bill: in 2020 industrial production and turnover will plummet, with decreases of more than 1/3 compared to the levels reached in 2019.

Exports are set to fall heavily, losing an estimated EUR 2.7 billion over the 12 months, cancelling out the strong expansion of the previous two years, while retail sales in Italy (-24.4%) have been hit hard by the restrictive measures. Despite the understandable increase in online purchases, household consumption fell significantly and tourist shopping collapsed.

Generalised, and almost always double-digit, declines in the main markets, with some positive signs (rare and weak) only in the Far East, where (despite a contraction in volume) South Korea grew in the first 11 months (+2.6%), becoming the third destination in value, and China limited its losses (-1.4%), thanks to a decisive recovery in the last months of the year.

The sector's trade balance declined by -28.6%.

For the Italian leather goods sector, therefore, no significant rebound after the spring lockdown. A decidedly poor end to the year and a still unfavourable start in 2021: after the Christmas shopping season, the new pandemic wave also hit the sales season hard, putting off the restart.

The selection among companies continues (almost 200 fewer than in 2019, between industry and handicrafts) and employment tensions emerge: 8 out of 10 companies surveyed resorted to shock absorbers in the fourth quarter. In the entire leather industry, 83 million of wage support hours were authorised in 2020 (+900% on 2019).

All the main sector variables showed markedly negative trends in 2020, with little improvement in the third and fourth quarters. In fact, the resurgence of contagions led to a further slowdown in activity in the autumn, further delaying the expected rebound, which will have to await the widespread introduction of vaccination campaigns.

-The Istat index of industrial production recorded a drop of -33.9% on January-December 2019. After the collapse of the March-April two-month lockdown and very reduced rates in May-June, the third quarter recorded contractions of around -30%. In the last part of the year, after an encouraging -3.3% in October, production activity suffered a new sharp downturn: -25% in November and -23% in December.

Similar indications come from the survey conducted by the Confindustria Moda Study Centre on a sample of companies associated with Assopellettieri, according to which only 8% of those interviewed reached or exceeded in 2020 the quantities produced in the previous year, compared to decreases of over 35% for more than half of the panel.

-The same survey also looked at how companies' turnover will develop in 2020. The distribution of responses was eloquent: for half of the sample (52%), the decrease was between -20% and -50%; and a further 24% experienced drops in revenues of even more than -50%.

Overall, the panel recorded an average drop in turnover of -36.9% in 2019, which -if applied to the entire sector -would lead to an annual loss of €3.3 billion. This would fall from €9 billion (estimated considering only companies based in Italy) to €5.7 billion. Although sample-based, this is an indication of the serious difficulties that companies have been facing since the start of the pandemic.

On the domestic front, the ISTAT index of the value of retail sales of 'Leather goods and footwear' shows, with reference to the whole of 2020, a drop of -24.4% compared to 2019, on which the two spring months of suspension of physical sales, the fewer opportunities to use goods caused by preventive measures, but also the climate of mistrust among consumers, in an economic phase characterised by great uncertainty for the future, obviously weigh heavily. Despite the understandable growth of e-commerce, therefore, Italian households' purchases in 2020 fell considerably.

After a "promising" August (-0.7% compared to the same month in 2019), in September and October domestic demand lost strength again (-8.7%), and then collapsed in November (-45.5%), when further restrictive measures were introduced to cope with the new emergency wave. Heavy repercussions were also felt in December, a crucial month for shopping for clothing and accessories for Christmas presents (-14.4%).

To make matters worse, there was also, of course, the collapse in tourist purchases, which particularly affected high-end products.

-As far as foreign demand is concerned, in the first 11 months of 2020 (latest data available to date), exports showed a significant setback, both in value (-26.2% compared to the same period in 2019) and in KG (-23.1%), abruptly putting an end to the expansive trend of recent years: leather goods were exported for 7.08 billion euros, corresponding to 46.4 million KG. The average price per KG fell by -4.1%.

Exports thus returned to just above the levels of the first 11 months of 2017, abruptly "burning" the marked increase achieved in the two-year period 2017-2019 (+40% in value). On the basis of 12-month projections, foreign sales have lost almost EUR 2.7 billion for the whole of 2020.

In KG, on the other hand, we have to go back as far as 9 years ago (2011), just after the global economic crisis, to find such a penalising trend.

As for the other variables, also for exports the trend in the last two quarters of the year was still far below expectations (-18% in value in the third quarter and -21% in October-November), bringing no significant improvement compared to the first half of the year, strongly penalised by the -61% recorded in the two-month period March-April lockdown.

All the main types of goods showed significant declines. Handbags (by far the most exported item, with a 65% incidence on the foreign turnover) show drops of -21.5% in value; suitcases around -25%; even more unsatisfactory are the trends for small leather goods (i.e. wallets, purses, key rings and pocket or handbag items, -34%) and belts (a drop of over -40%, both in value and in KG).

Looking at the items by material, on the whole, leather products -typical of Made in Italy production and representing more than 70% of the total in value terms -show heavier contractions (in the order of -30%, both in value and in KG) than those in substitutes, whose exports fell by -15.4% in value and -17% in KG.

An analysis by destination also shows that almost all markets have declined in quantity and value. There are very few exceptions: in the ranking by value, among the top 25 outlet countries, only South Korea (+2.6%), Poland (+2.3%) and Taiwan (+0.3%) show a positive sign compared to January-November 2019 (accompanied, however, by declines in KGs). Thanks to this result, South Korea (which had grown 77% in value over the previous three years) moved up to third place in the ranking, overtaking the USA (which, on the other hand, recorded declines of over 30% in both value and volume in the first 11 months of 2020). China lost only -1.4% in value, thanks to the recovery recorded in the two-month period October-November (+40.5%). No country in the top 25, on the other hand, recorded increases in KG.

There was a marked reduction (close to -38% in value) in flows to Switzerland, the leading destination for exports in value terms and for some time now the logistics-distribution platform for the major international luxury brands.

The European Union (from this year onwards considered to have 27 members, post Brexit) saw an overall decrease of 20% in value and 22% in KG. France lost almost 10% in value (with -6% in KG), another traditional destination for third-party production for designer labels, which became the top customer in terms of quantity for Italian operators, overtaking Germany (which lost 20% in value and -14% in KG).

Among the non-EU countries -which showed a heavier contraction in terms of value than the EU markets as a whole, equal to -28% -the Far East lost -13% in value and -19% in KG, with significant drops in several countries (Japan -15.5% in value, Hong Kong -31%, Macao -20%, Singapore -46%).

Russia and the United Arab Emirates also fell (-19% and -28% respectively in value), as did Canada (-21%) and the United Kingdom (-23.5%, with which the EU signed a trade and cooperation agreement, TCA, at the end of December, with immediate provisional application).

-Imports of leather goods, which amounted to 2.37 billion euros between January and November, were down by -21% in value and -25% in KG. China, the leading supplier in terms of volume with a share of close to 50% of the total, showed a decrease of -35.4% in value (-39% in KG).

-Although the trade balance remains largely in surplus, it is down 28.6% on the first 11 months of 2019: a surplus of €4.7 billion (almost €1.9 billion less). In spite of the sharp decline, this is still a significant result, which places leather goods in 6th place in terms of assets among the 99 goods chapters of the customs nomenclature (it was 5th at the end of 2019).

The delicate economic situation is likely to have serious consequences for the sector's production fabric, which has always been based on a network of small and very small enterprises.

-The selection of companies continued in 2020. Although it is too early to read in the Chamber of Commerce registers the effects that the current economic crisis will have on the demographics of companies, the Infocamere data on company births and deaths already show the first signs: at the end of 2020, they record a balance of -199 units in the number of active leather businesses compared to December 2019 (-4.4%) between industry and craft, with a significant worsening in the fourth quarter (-87 units).

Broken down by region, Tuscany (where about half of the companies are concentrated) shows a negative balance of -116 companies compared to 2019; Veneto -30; Abruzzo and Lombardy -20 and -17 respectively; 16 less in Emilia Romagna. The balance in Marche is smaller, but still in double figures (-12). Campania is bucking the trend (18 more units on end 2019). The remaining regions show a total of 6 fewer companies.

It is easy, however, to foresee a significant widespread worsening in the coming months, when the realities that have not been able to overcome the exceptional difficulties that operators have had to face as a result of the emergency, which is still ongoing, will begin to be counted.

-The first critical points have also begun to appear on the employment front. The processing carried out by the Confindustria Moda Study Centre on Chamber data shows -despite the freeze on redundancies imposed by government measures -a drop in the workforce of around -2% (an order of magnitude also reiterated by the member companies reached by the survey) following cessation of activity or as permitted by law (consensual terminations, retirements, non-renewal of fixed-term contracts...).

The same survey highlighted a strong recourse, also in the fourth Quarter, to wage supplementation tools (8 out of 10 companies in the sample), which is also confirmed by official INPS figures.

In fact, these figures show an unprecedented increase in the number of wage support hours authorised in 2020: 83 million hours for companies in the leather sector from January to December (8.3 million in 2019), an increase of +900%.

Never had such a number of hours been granted, not even in 2009 (23.1 million) or 2010 (29.7 million) at the height of the global recession.

All the main district areas of the leather industry show considerable increases: Tuscany is the first region for authorised hours (24.3 million, +3954% on 2019, of which 11.5 million for the province of Florence, +5193%), followed by Veneto (14.9 million, +934%), Marche (12.9 million, +370%), Campania (11 million, +685%) and Lombardy (+797%).

These figures testify to the exceptional reduction in activity levels during the year and the seriousness of the current situation.

-There is great concern about the situation in the coming months. The indications of the entrepreneurs, collected at the end of January, interviewed about the turnover expected in the first quarter of 2021 seem to replicate, with a very slight improvement, those expressed for the last 3 months of the year: the average drop within the sample is equal to a heavy -23.6%.

Only 3% of respondents expect a start to recovery in the first half of this year; for 52%, it will be necessary to wait until the second half of 2021; for the remaining 45%, the entire year will be characterised by an unfavourable trend. The time frame for a real recovery conditioned by an efficient vaccination plan and a gradual return to normality still seems uncertain and in any case not immediate.

Milano, March 9th 2021

Assopellettieri - (Italian Leather Industry Association) (Z1439) 21.09.2020-4

The Italian leather goods sector
First half of 2020
Economic note drawn up by the
“Confindustria Moda Research Centre”

Sector performance in the first 6 months of 2020

Leather goods: first semester black. The restrictions imposed by the health emergency and the setback in demand, both domestic and foreign, caused turnover to fall (-43.2%). Exports (-31% in value) returned below the levels of three years ago, breaking the recent growth trend. The trade balance surplus fell by 35%.

Restart with the brake pulled after the lockdown: in the two-month period May/June exports -35% in value, retail sales -24%, and production rhythms still strongly slowed down (-44%). Orders cancelled and high percentage of outstanding orders; liquidity crisis risk.

9 out of 10 companies forced to resort to social shock absorbers and to revise their investment plan due to the pandemic.

The leather goods sector tried to restart after a markedly negative first half of the year, which saw the Fashion Textile sector, one of the Italian accessories sectors, among the most exposed to the effects of the crisis induced by Covid-19.

The data processed by the Confindustria Moda Research Centre for Assopellettieri show strongly penalising trends for all the main variables, which are putting a strain on a sector that in recent years has distinguished itself for double-digit growth rates in exports (+58% in value over the three-year period 2016-2019) and assets in the trade balance.

The entrepreneurs surveyed indicated a drastic reduction in turnover in the second quarter (-49.2%, with decreases of more than 50% for 6 out of 10 companies in the sample), which followed -37.1% in the first part of the year.

Overall, therefore, it is estimated, with reference to the first 6 months, a contraction of -43.2%, with a loss of sector turnover of around 1.9 billion Euros in January-June 2019.

Orders also fell sharply, falling by -54.2% on April-June last year: a dynamic that casts many shadows on the production rhythms of the following months.

ISTAT's survey of industrial production confirms the sample figures relating to turnover: after the understandable collapse in the two-month period March-April due to the interruption, or at least the severe limitation, of work activities, in May, with the reopening of factories, the index for travel and leather goods recorded a further sharp decline (-50.7%), followed by -37.3% in June. The decline was close to -45% if the entire half-year is considered.

The health emergency has profoundly affected the levels of demand, both international and domestic. On the foreign front, restrictive measures and different ways/times of spreading the coronavirus in the main reference markets make the current scenario very complex and varied, impacting on world trade; on the domestic side, purchases, even after the reopening of shops, are held back by uncertainty and loss of purchasing power of many families.

Exports in the first six months of the year fell sharply, both in value (-30.6% on the same period in 2019) and in KG (-24.8%), abruptly ending the expansionary trend of recent years: leather goods were exported for 3.6 billion Euros (5.1 billion in the first half of 2019), corresponding to 23.7 million KG. The average price at KG fell by 7.6%, an unequivocal sign that the setback affected not only the mid-range but also luxury sales, which are generally more resilient to economic fluctuations.

In terms of value, exports returned below the levels of the first 6 months of 2017, abruptly "burning" the considerable growth of the last three years. In KG, the current result is only higher than the heavily penalizing quantities of the first half of 2009.

After a not particularly rewarding start to the year but nevertheless on positive ground (up 1.6% in value in the first two months of the year), in the March-April two-months lockdown period there was a decline in foreign sales of -57.6% in value and -45.4% in quantities (expressed in KG) compared to the same period in 2019.

But the unfavourable trend also continued with the reopening of the factories, both in May (-49.7% in value) and June (-20%), making hopes of a rapid return to normality fade thanks to an immediate "rebound". Overall, in the two-month period following the forced closure, outflows were significantly reduced: -35%, both in value and in KG.

The emergency situation still in progress in all the main outlet markets (in some cases worsening with new outbreaks) certainly does not facilitate the restart of international trade.

All the main product types show significant decreases. Handbags (by far the most exported item, accounting for 65% of foreign sales) show decreases of -26% in value; suitcases around -30%; even more unsatisfactory trends in belts (-42%) and small leather goods (-40%), i.e. wallets, purses, key rings and pocket or handbag items. Equally unfavourable trends (double-digit declines) were also recorded in terms of quantity.

Looking at the items by material, on the whole, leather products - typical of Made in Italy production, which represent almost 3/4 of the total in value - show heavier contractions (in the order of -33%, both in KG and value) compared to those in substitutes, whose exports fell by about -20%.

The analysis by destination also shows decreases in quantity and value for almost all markets. There are very few exceptions: in the ranking by value, only South Korea (+1.1%) and Poland (+6.8%) among the top 25 outlet countries show an increase compared to January-June 2019 (accompanied, however, by significant decreases in KG). Thanks to this result, South Korea (which grew by 77% in value over the last three years) rose to third place in the ranking, surpassing the USA (which, on the other hand, recorded decreases of -38% in value and -36% in volume in the first 6 months of 2020).

A marked reduction (about -40%) in direct flows to Switzerland, the first export destination and longstanding logistics-distribution platform for major international luxury brands.

The European Union (now considered to be 27 countries, post Brexit) shows an overall decrease of -18% in value and -20.5% in KG: France lost 9% in value, another traditional destination for third-party production for brands; reductions of around -13% for Belgium and Holland (the latter stable in volume) and -23% for Germany, which is still the leading market in terms of quantity for Italian operators (with 3.5 million KG, down 14.8%); losses were even more marked in Spain (-38% in value) and Austria (-43.3%).

Among the non-EU countries - which overall show heavier contractions than the EU markets, -34% in value and -30% in KG - there was a significant decline in the Far East (-27.4% in value and -31% in KG as a whole), with significant falls in all major clients, excluding South Korea: China (-30% in value), Hong Kong (-47%), Japan (-30%), Taiwan (-20%), Thailand (-41%), Macao (-36%) and Singapore (exports almost halved, -48%).

Russia and the United Arab Emirates (-30.5% and -39% respectively in terms of value), as well as Canada (-29%). The United Kingdom, finally, contains a decrease in value of -13.4% (but with -25.4% in KG).

Imports of leather goods, which amounted to 1.3 billion Euros in the first 6 months of 2020, declined by 20% both in value and KG (average prices -0.2%). China, the leading supplier in terms of volumes with a share of just under 55% of the total, showed a fall of -29.3% in value (-31.2% in KGs). Less signs in value for all top 10 suppliers; France, Germany and the UK are growing in KGs.

Although the trade balance remained largely in surplus (for 2.3 billion Euros), it decreased by -35.5% compared to the first half of 2019. In the first half of the year, chapter "42" of leather goods was in sixth place for the positive balance among the 99 product chapters of which the customs nomenclature is composed; it therefore lost a position compared to 2019, overtaken by the item relating to pharmaceutical products, which jumped to third place, the balance of which increased by 51%.

The health emergency has had, and still has, profound repercussions on the confidence and spending decisions of families, first and foremost curbing those for the purchase of luxury goods (and in particular luxury goods). It has also changed habits/modality, favouring in the months of lockdown an obvious and often obligatory recourse to e-commerce, which has thus conquered new users.

Domestic demand is very weak. In Italy, retail sales of "Leather goods and footwear" - after a setback in the two-months period March-April due to the closure of shops imposed by the restrictive measures contained in the Prime Minister's Decree - showed that physical sales were still very unsatisfactory when physical sales resumed: -35.1% in May and -12.8% in June, according to the index published by Istat. The cumulative figure for the first 6 months showed a decline of -32.7%.

The impact on the sales trend in Italy, especially for high-end products, is compounded by the collapse in tourism, given the not insignificant percentage of foreigners who also visit our country for shopping.

There is a strong concern for the tightness of the production fabric: that network of companies, mostly small in size (70% of them have no more than 5 employees) that constitutes the backbone of Made in Italy leather goods.

The extensive use of wage integration tools, combined with the block on redundancies, has so far mitigated the impact of the crisis on the workforce.

The survey carried out by Confindustria Moda highlighted how, in July, 15% of the companies surveyed still had staff in smart working and how more than 88% of leather goods manufacturers have made use of the CIG, or similar instruments, since the beginning of the pandemic (with an average percentage of employees involved, among those who benefited from it, around 72%).

The data released by INPS relating to the hours of temporary lay-off fund authorised in the first 6 months (referring to the entire leather sector) confirm an unprecedented increase, starting in April (+2871% on the same month in 2019). May and June showed equally exceptional increases (+1633 and +651% respectively).

In the first 6 months of 2020, 39 million hours were authorised (4 million in the first half of last year), equal to +878%: almost 5 times the hours (8.3 million) granted in 2019.

Never had such a number of hours been authorised, not even in 2009 (23.1 million) or 2010 (29.7 million) at the height of the global economic crisis.

All the main district areas of the leather supply chain show considerable increases: Tuscany is the first region for authorised hours (about 10 million, +3080% on the first half of 2019, of which 5.1 million for the province of Florence, +3607%), followed by Veneto (8 million, +1085%) and Marche (6.1 million, +413%).

The figures for business birth-mortality in the first half of the year still obviously do not reflect the consequences of the fall in activity levels: Infocamere Movimprese's figures at the end of June recorded a balance of -69 units in the number of active leather goods companies compared to the end of December, between industry and crafts (-1.5%).
Breakdown by region, Tuscany lost 25 companies in the first 6 months; 18 in Veneto; 17 in Lombardy; 14 in Abruzzo. The negative balances of Marche (-6) and Emilia Romagna (-5) were smaller. Campania bucked the trend (15 units more than at the end of 2019). The remaining regions show 1 more company overall.

These data, not particularly alarming so far, are unfortunately destined to worsen considerably in the coming months, when the realities that have not managed to overcome the exceptional difficulties that companies have had to (and still have to) face as a result of the emergency will begin to be counted in the Chamber registers.

The cancellation of orders and non-payment (4 out of 10 participants in the Confindustria Moda survey complain of over 40% of outstanding payments) have significantly reduced the income of most companies, while the number of departures has remained virtually unchanged (for staff, suppliers, tax authorities and banks), causing liquidity crises.
Almost 90% of entrepreneurs had to revise their planned investment plan due to Covid.

Uncertainty about the duration, course and geographical extent of the pandemic obviously makes it difficult to make predictions about the short-term evolution and the time frame for the return to more profitable levels of activity.

The year 2020 is expected to close with markedly negative results. In need of a forecast of annual turnover, 44% of leather entrepreneurs indicated a drop of between 20 and 50%. On average, weighting the responses with the company size, it is estimated that there will be a decrease of around 40%, which would imply only a slight improvement in the sector's economic situation in the second half of 2020. A sample data, provided 5 months after the end of the year and subject to various variables, but still very significant.

The absence of new shocks and a gradual overcoming of the pandemic emergency in the various areas of the planet should favour a progressive recovery in demand in 2021, which could be completed in 2022.

However, we need policies, instruments and support measures that will enable companies to overcome the long and delicate phase of the current emergency to reach that point.

Milan, September 16th 2020

Statistical attachments
Assopellettieri - (Italian Leather Industry Association) (Z1419)-5

Financial support and digitalization
Assopellettieri solutions to support the Italian leather goods sector


Florence, 23 July 2020 - Aggregation, digitalization, internationalization, sustainability, credit and finance: these are the five pillars on which Assopellettieri focuses on relaunching the business. On Thursday 23rd July was held in Florence the event The States General of Italian Leather Goods Sector, organized by Assopellettieri and co-promoted with the Municipality of Florence with the aim to clarify the Italian leather goods sector situation consequently to Covid-19 emergency. Assopellettieri, since the beginning of this emergency, has fought to hear the alarm voices of the companies in the sector, a 9 billion euro supply chain (2019 data) which 85% consists of exports. The choice of Florence as the venue for this event has an important symbolic value: Tuscany represents one of the most important production districts in the world of leather goods, 60% of the Italian production comes from this region that represents one of the main economic assets.

During the morning attended Cristina Giachi Deputy Mayor of Florence, Franco Gabbrielli Assopellettieri President, Manlio Di Stefano Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Carlo Ferro ITA-Italian Trade Agency President, Mauro Alfonso CEO Simest Spa, Eugenio Giani President of Tuscany Regional Council, Andrea Calistri Assopellettieri Vice President and Delegate for the Tuscan District, Paola Castellacci CEO Adiacent Spa, Simona Bonafè MEP.

«I would like to send a positive message, we need to react and we cannot wait: we have to strengthen our Association and work together to overcome the difficulties - said Franco Gabbrielli Assopellettieri president -. Assopellettieri has to do that, today. We invite all companies, from the smallest to the biggest one, to join us, each with its own characteristics and requests.The Association has the opportunity to discuss and interact with the Government; the funds are there and we can be the spokespersons of the companies in this step. Through the synergy with ITA-Agency, Simest and MAECI, the Association aims to offer concrete solutions for leather goods companies relaunch by providing answers to the liquidity, market and product crisis. Especially with Simest through the supply of advantageous loans and with ITA through initiatives designed to ease the internationalization process. Assopellettieri, through the Mipel digitalization and the Miss Bag initiative, is also proposed as a solution to give the opportunity to intercept markets ".

«You have a great task, making choices that will ferry this strategic sector into the future it deserves. We have an incredible patrimony that is in your hands, in your heads, in the work that you know how to inspire with your co-workers - the Deputy Mayor Cristina Giachi said at the opening, bringing greetings from the Municipality of Florence».

"Between Assopellettieri and ITA, the spirit of the system that concretizes the proposals bringing them to the end and guaranteeing their realization is stronger than ever - explained the president of ITA, Carlo Ferro -. ITA and MAECI continue to provide services useful to small and medium-sized enterprises and confirm the new editions of the September/October trade fair events in Italy. The incoming of international buyers from mainly intra-EU countries continues and gets stronger. The Silent Mipel Showroom is a new event, a post Covid version of the traditional Mipel showroom that will take place in an exhibition centre in the commercial heart of Seoul able to connect to the virtual fair and to the online commerce. Last but not least, the B2B platform that will put companies in contact with operators in foreign markets, ensuring remote meetings, autonomous exhibitions and business work ».

"The export agreement, recently signed by Minister Di Maio, is based on six specific pillars mainly declined on two concepts: strengthening Made in Italy on international markets and increasing the internationalization of the entire Italian economic district. These are communication, training, e-commerce, exhibition system, integrated promotion and subsidized finance. The latter is the beating heart of the reform: we have allocated 900 million euros, 300 of which are non-refundable. 70% of the resources are allocated for small and medium-sized enterprises - said Manlio Di Stefano Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation».

"The international scenario is complex but has to be interpreted as an opportunity to restart and cover incremental competitive positions compared to the past - explained Mauro Alfonso CEO Simest Spa -. Our role is to facilitate companies in the process of internationalization both with direct investments abroad and with the management of state funds such as Fund 394. We have made evolutions of this tool which affects 7 fundamental measures. The first relates to the participation in fairs and exhibitions reserved for SMEs, for which the financed amount is up to a maximum of 150 thousand euros; the second proposes insertion programs on non-EU markets by financing the opening of permanent commercial structures, the maximum amount that can be financed for both SMEs and companies of any size has been raised from 2 and a half million to 4 million euro. Feasibility studies are another financeable tool as long as they are linked to foreign investments: the maximum amount is up to € 200,000 for commercial investments and € 350,000 for productive investments. We also have the opportunity to finance technical assistance programs with which we support staff training in foreign investment initiatives, up to a maximum of € 300 thousand.The temporary export manager and the temporary digital export manager are figures that can be financed with the 394 Fund, up to a maximum of 150 thousand euros. We can also contribute to e-commerce by supporting companies through the use of their own market places or platforms up to a maximum of 450 thousand euros. The last tool is the capitalization of exporting SMEs, whose maximum funding ceiling has been raised from 400 to 800 thousand euros. We are able to carry out the assignment procedures quickly and respond within 30 days, bypassing the guarantees of the credit system and being able to access a rate of 0.085%. It is also possible to use a non-repayable loan quota. In addition, we want to offer the leather sector, for participation in exhibitions and fairs and for Mipel, a series of measures including: subsidized financing up to 100% with a duration of 4 years, of which the first one is pre-amortization, at 0.085%; 50% of the costs relating to the equity investment granted without recourse; important news is that it will be possible to finance participation in international fairs that take place in Italy. Participation in fairs is therefore a commitment accessible to all operators ».

«The institutions have to provide the necessary support, because the tannery and leather goods manufacturing system have to be strongly supported. The resources that come from Europe have to be translated into projects to be carried out together; I believe it is necessary to equip a real task force in this direction in the Region. An important synergy between the Association and the Region has to be created, in order to have projects ready when the funds arrive - was the comment of the President of Tuscany Regional Council Eugenio Giani ".

"One of the assets that Assopellettieri has and no one else has is the most important leather fair in the world, Mipel, which celebrates 60 years in 2021 - said Andrea Calistri, Assopellettieri Vice President and delegate for the Tuscan District -. And in September the fair will be there, together with colleagues from Lineapelle and Micam, with a completely new model to go with Italian companies towards a potentially global market.

 We have already started working on a multi-tasking platform with a totally innovative format also from the point of view of the fair's tour: making it 'open' 365 days a year thanks to the digitalization of the fair system. In addition, the Miss Bag initiative will be launched in September: an iconic bag that all leather manufacturers participating in Mipel will be called to interpret according to their own style, thus also allowing companies that do not normally develop a product to create something of their own to exhibit all over the world ».

"With a business digitalization point of view, there are three considerations to think about - said Paola Castellacci CEO Adiacent Spa -. The first is the need to put together digital channels with the offline ones in order to improve a daily dialogue; the second is e-commerce which we have seen growing fast and in this lockdown period with 2 million new customers in sectors and age groups previously absent (+ 55% compared to 2019): we have to therefore evaluate which companies can benefit from these numbers; the third theme is globalization, to be reinterpreted from a digital export perspective all over the world. Digital must truly be central starting from training, also bringing new figures working in the sector to the company».

"Urgent and massive interventions are needed to ensure the economic sustainability of a supply chain that has always been a source of pride for our country - said MEP Simona Bonafè -. We need far-reaching innovative policies and measures; we need a national and European public enormous intervention like never seen before and an extraordinary commitment of citizens and businesses. At European level has been launched the largest recovery plan in the history of the European Union: a 750 billion plan of which 390 billion in direct subsidies. Of these, 208 billion will go into strategic investments in our country: I believe that the two areas in which to invest is sustainability and digital that will affect every part of the economy, society and industry. And this will require the transition from the current linear production to the circular economy. And the leather goods district has understood this for some time."








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