Sep 7, 2023
After a brilliant first quarter (+11.4%), Italian fashion has entered a phase of deceleration and should end the year with an increase of 4.5%, reaching sales of 103.28 billion euros. “We noticed a clear slowdown from April onwards. But given the current situation with rising prices, we consider this growth of 4.5% to be very positive,” commented Carlo Capasa, president of the Italian National Chamber of Fashion (CNMI).
“We’re living in difficult times, there’s still war in Europe,” said the CEO, who presented the forthcoming Milan Fashion Week schedule on Thursday. To mark the occasion, the Camera della moda published its latest estimates for sales and exports of made in Italy products. The sector, which includes textiles, leather goods, clothing, footwear, jewellery, beauty and eyewear, saw its sales fall in April year-on-year, the first decline recorded since February 2021.
Production costs in the sector, which had soared in the first quarter, were more subdued in the second, with a slight increase of 1%. In the key segments (textiles, clothing, leather goods and footwear), domestic production fell by 5% in the first half of the year. Inflation affected fashion products to a lesser extent, with consumer prices rising by 3% in the first half, compared with general inflation in Italy of 8.1%.
Another factor behind this slowdown is the trend in consumer confidence, which, after “improving in the first three months of the year, stabilised in the second quarter, only to worsen in July and August,” explains the Chamber of Fashion in its Fashion Economic Trends report, while pointing out that, at the same time, “business confidence fell steadily from April onwards.”
Once again, it is international sales that are doing well, although here too there has been a slowdown. In textiles, clothing, leather goods and footwear alone, Italian exports rose by 6.5% between January and May, jumping in particular by 18.8% to France (+4.3% to the European Union).
Italian exports to Russia recover
Exports to China and Japan soared by 18.4%, and by 8.9% to Hong Kong, but only by 4% to South Korea. The report also mentions strong growth towards the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), including a pick up in exports to Russia. The Italian eyewear, jewellery and beauty sectors also performed extremely well abroad, with exports up 15% over the first five months of the year.
At the same time, imports rose by 2.1% in the textiles, clothing, leather goods and footwear sector, and by 16.4% in the other categories (eyewear, jewellery and beauty). Products imported from China to the Alps fell by 19.5% over the period.
The balance of trade nevertheless remained positive, and even increased. It reached €17 billion in the first half of 2023, up €2.1 billion on the same period in 2022.
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