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The Italian sector of accessories, components and alternative materials to leather for footwear, leather goods and garment includes over 2,100 companies and employs nearly 23,500 workers. These companies have always been key partners for downstream manufacturers in Italy, as they supply products and services capable of contributing ultimate quality to finished products.

The majority of them are small and medium-sized companies principally based in the area of Fermo-Macerata, in the Marche region, and in the other leading footwear districts of Veneto, Lombardy and Tuscany. These companies play a central role in local economies, not least because they contribute a large share of the exports from their respective regions.

Italy accounts for 80% of the whole European business, with the other leading EU competitors (Spain, Germany and France) lagging far behind.

Output was estimated at 3 billion Euros in 2016, with a 1% increase compared to the previous year. Exports amounted to 2.2 billion Euros in value (+1% vs. 2015) and reached 151 countries, mostly Western Europe and the neighbouring delocalization regions of the European footwear and leather goods industry (Eastern Europe, Balkan countries and North Africa). Exports account for 72% of total output value.

The sector includes three main categories.

Components for footwear (soles and bottoms, uppers, welts, toecaps, counters, insoles, etc.) generate 1.2 billion Euros in value, that is 40% of the total output. Exports amounted to 907 million Euros in 2016 (-1.4%) and reached 126 countries, the most important of which are Romania (9%) followed by Germany (6%) and Spain (3%). Soles and bottoms account for over 56% of the total value of the business.

Accessories for footwear, leather goods and garments (metal hardware, including buckles, buttons, zip fasteners, ribbons, frogs, trimmings, etc.) account for 27% of the sector, with 812 million Euros in output value (+4%). Exports in 2016 amounted to 536 million Euros (+2%). France (21%), Romania (16%) and Germany (10%) were the most important destinations.

Textiles, synthetics and other alternative materials to leather represent the third category, with a value of 1.02 billion Euros (34% of total output) in 2016, rising by 4% as compared to 2015, and exports for 753 million Euros. The leading export markets were Germany and Romania with 12% share both, followed by the USA (9%).

In spite of the fierce international competition by cheap manpower countries, in China above all, the sector still plays an important role for the success of the countries capable of creating and developing fashion trends, including Italy. Creativity, innovation, quality and service are still key assets for the future growth of the sector.


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Italian Association of Components and Accessories Manufacturers