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Italy with sharp fall in turnover, production and exports in 2020

Mar 11, 2021 Italy
Italy with sharp fall in turnover, production and exports in 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the Italian footwear industry hard, with double-digit reductions across all the main variables, according to Assocalzaturifici, the Italian Footwear Manufacturers' Association
According to the latest figures from Confindustria Moda Research Centre for Assocalzaturifici, compared to 2019, turnover in 2020 was down to 10.72 billion euro (-25.2%) and Italian production fell to 130.5 million pairs (-27.1%). There was also a significant decrease in exports, in terms of both value (-14.7%) and volume (-17.4%).

“The year 2020 had severe economic consequences for our sector. The data is clear. As well as losing about 1/4 of national production and turnover, we also have to report a severe reduction in consumption by Italian households, in both expenditure (-23.1%) and volumes (-17.4%). This was a major drop, despite a double-digit increase in online sales, which was not sufficient to offset the collapse of sales linked with tourism in Italy, especially in the luxury segments. And if we factor in the criticalities emerging from the company demographics - with reductions of -4% in both the number of companies and the direct workforce, as well as a spike in wage support (C.I.G.) in the Leather Area (+900% in the number of authorised hours, ten times 2019 levels) - the picture is anything but comforting”, stated Siro Badon, Chair of Assocalzaturifici.

Assocalzaturifici’s report looks in detail at exports, with this analysis revealing that of the top 10 foreign markets in value terms, there was an increase for South Korea alone (+14.3% in the first 11 months), although it too was down -5.2% in quantity. Losses were more limited in Switzerland (-7.6%, the destination for products produced by subcontractors for international luxury brands) and China (-4.4%), which saw a strong recovery (+43%) in the two-month period October-November. There was a marked reduction in sales towards partners within the European Union (-13% in value for the EU27) and outside the EU (-18%), where North America saw a loss of -30% in value, with -20% for the CIS area, -25% for the Middle East and -13% for the Far East. The balance of trade surplus is expected to fall to 4.2 billion euro (a -14% reduction compared to 2019).

“The trend is expected to remain negative in the first quarter of 2021 after beginning with a very lacklustre sales season: according to our surveys, the sector's entrepreneurs expect an additional average reduction in their turnover of -15.1% in year-on-year terms. The recovery is clearly put off until the second half of 2021, if we assume that a satisfactory and comprehensive vaccination plan will progressively restore normal conditions, even though a return to pre-Covid levels is still some way off", added Badon.

In terms of consumption, according to Sita Ricerca's Fashion Consumer Panel for Assocalzaturifici, 26 million less pairs of shoes were bought in Italy in 2020 compared to the previous year. According to the same source, the most severely affected segments were "classic" shoes for men and women (which saw reductions of just under -30% in quantity), while for children's footwear and sports shoes/sneakers the fall was around -15%. The reduction was less severe in the slippers and lounge footwear segment, which fell by -6.1% in terms of the number of pairs sold and -5.3% in terms of expenditure.

With regard to sales channels, there was a strong increase in online sales (+30% in quantity and +17% in expenditure). Online shopping's share of the total market (following its constant increase in recent years) went from 14.1% in the final balance in 2019 to 21.4%. Just seven years ago (2013), online shopping accounted for a mere 3.6% of Italian families' purchases of footwear. All other sales channels closed 2020 with major losses: -28% in pairs purchased from traditional retailers (with a -42% reduction in expenditure); -44.4% in the sales of itinerant traders; reductions of between -20 and -25% for retail chains, department stores and specialised large stores.

Image credits: Ouael Ben Salah on Unsplash

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