It is undeniable that the hopes of recovery are still far from being realised, so how do entrepreneurs move, how do they keep business alive. It is not easy to understand in such a moment of uncertainty. We try to analyse the situation with UNIC’s president Fabrizio Nuti.
Are there any data updates concerning the sector’s health?
“The end of 2020 had opened some glimmers of hope, but these first months of 2021 have once again brought the leather trend back to an opaque and even more complicated horizon. 2020 data show for the Italian tannery a 26% decline in turnover and 27% in exports. In addition to having to deal with very weak demand, unlike last year, we now also have a commodity whose prices have risen almost unreasonably. Increases that sometimes even reach double digits.
The pressure has become enormous and the decrease in slaughter does not justify these increases, which risk inhibiting any potential hypothesis of a restart.
Also the prices of chemicals have risen; the justifications are different, but the fact remains that customers do not accept any adjustments. The hoarding rush has triggered speculation and our sector is penalised. As far as destinations are concerned, Fashion certainly suffers terribly compared to Furniture and Automotive which seem to have less difficulty in resisting”.
What are your feelings about the brands and the various recovering markets? Do they provide any indication about future developments?
“It is difficult to make plans and the various brands move differently. The uneven timing of the spread of infections and vaccinations leaves uncertainty on the market. Brands closely tied to physical networks and direct experience have slowed down, while those related to e-commerce have seen an increase.
What has emerged from the pandemic is an acceleration of the process of changing demand. There is more attention to economically and socially sustainable products and that are enhanced by a more artisanal approach”.
As an entrepreneur, what do you believe are the things to be implemented, both as a company and as an Association?
“As an entrepreneur, I think that we must put ourselves in a position to continue investing, without draining liquidity, to increase the added value of our products and be increasingly competitive.
It is also important to defend employment and ensure that our companies have a future. To do this, the tools needed must be certain and, among these tax credit, being automatic, is the most effective, but it needs precise rules.
As for the Association: I strongly believe in associations and in times like these it is the association that must take charge of transferring our needs to the Government”.