After seven years of uninterrupted growth, the machinery industry for tanneries, footwear, and leather goods comes to an abrupt halt in 2019, with all indicators regarding production, exports, and trade balance in a double-digit downtrend. According to the data analysed by Assomac, production fell by 614 million euros, down -11% (in 2018 it was at 690 million), exports dropped-off by -13.77% for a total of 425 million euros exported and, despite the corresponding fall in imports by -28.34%, the trade balance still dropped by -14.32% arriving at 396.22 million euros (in 2018 it was at 460.42 million).

This downtrend was caused above all by the weak performance in exports recorded in all segments, starting from the shoe-machinery sector (-18.77%), followed by the tanning-machinery sector (-16.64%) and the leather goods-machinery sector (-15.8%). Not quite as negative, but still in the double-digits, was the loss recorded in the sector of spare parts, -10.35%.

 

Tanning machinery: Vietnam rises in the ranks

Tannery sector exports was more penalised in the American market (Central and North -44.6% and South -39%) and in the European one (-22.7%), while numbers held steady in Asian exports, thus confirming it as the first end market with a share of 44.9% for a value of 59.63 million euros. The first twenty end markets were all characterised by very dynamic trend in terms of both growth and losses, with the first Made in Italy customer confirmed as China (+10.9%). At second place in the classification, rising six positions in the ranks compared to 2018, is Vietnam (+68%) followed by Turkey, which rises 3 positions (+9.74%). Instead, dropping-off in the classification to fourth place is Mexico (-56.99%), followed by the United States (-18.56%). Among the markets where Made in Italy recorded the best performances were France (+35%), Uzbekistan (+217.89%), South Korea (+91.89), the UK (121.61%) and Indonesia (+173.86%). Instead, there were extremely negative trends in countries like Thailand, which was the third destination in 2018 (-63.97%), India (-33.29%), Brazil (-49.52%) and Germany (-42.93%).

 

Machinery for footwear: India becomes the first market

In 2019, the shoe-machinery sector was instead characterised by a net drop in exports destined for the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Over half of exports in the sector (51.6% for a value of 44.34 million euros) was destined for Europe, while 29.7% went to Asia.

The first eight end markets in 2018 were all characterised by downtrends in 2019: Vietnam (-55.55%), China (-52.79%), Spain (-24.78%), Romania (-6.19%), Germany (-35.56%), Indonesia (-62.62%), Albania (-45.26%) and France (-27.37%), which despite these results, with the exception of Indonesia (16th place) and Albania (11th place), still remain among the top ten end markets. Instead, standing out with its performance is India, which arrives at the top of the classification with +66.99%, while there is also growth in markets like Tanzania (+243.36%), Tunisia (+72%), Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia, the Czech Republic, and Mexico (all in the double-digits).

 

Machinery for leather goods: penalised by Asia

Instead, as far as the segment of machinery for leather goods is concerned, the considerable drop in exports can be attributed to fewer sales in Asia (-35.11%). Sales were also down in Central America, North America, and Europe, while South America was characterised by an uptrend (+23.58%). As with the shoe-machinery industry, also in this case, most exports were destined for Europe (46.7% for a value of 21.13 million euros) followed by Asia (32.5%).

Vietnam and France exchanged places in the classification of the first end markets, with the former recording -63.08%, which allowed the latter with its +23.41% to rise in the ranks. Spain also rises in the classification (+13.32%), along with Egypt (+1399.73%), the Dominican Republic, Portugal, India, Mexico, China, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. Dropping back in the classification are instead Romania, Brazil, the United States, Hong Kong, and Germany.