MILAN — Revenues of the Italian fashion industry are expected to climb 2.5 percent in the first half of 2016, according to the latest Fashion Economic Trends study presented by the Italian Chamber of Fashion on Tuesday.
The year 2015 “will be remembered as one of exceptional instability,” said the study, “slightly negative in the first months, followed by a boom of exports in the second trimester, by an exceptional freeze in sales in the third trimester and a rebound in the fourth, insufficient to bring back the yearly final balance to be in line with the expectations fueled by the good first half.”
In 2015, industry sales are expected to total 62 billion euros, or $68.8 billion at average exchange rates, a 1.4 percent gain compared with 2014. In particular, business in November stood out with a 8.1 percent gain.
Exports in 2015 are expected to be up 1.1. percent to 47.4 billion euros, or $52.6 billion, and are forecast to rise 2.5 percent in the first half of 2016.
A crisis in the German and French markets and an additional drastic decline in Russia were elements that dented business outside Italy last year. Exports to the U.S. and the U.K. were in line with positive expectations, in light of a weaker euro. The slowdown of Asian economies had a limited impact, while exports towards China, Hong Kong and Korea remained brisk, growing almost double-digits. The Japanese market remained weak.
Exports were negative in the August to October period, following a solid growth in the second trimester, but November saw a turnaround, with sales outside Italy rising 5.6 percent.
The study provided details about exports in the first 10 months of the year, showing that France and Germany, the top regions for Italy, were down 3.6 and 1.2 percent, respectively. Sales to France totaled 4.26 billion euros, or $4.73 billion, followed by Germany with revenues of 3.75 billion euros, or $4.16 billion. Exports to Russia took a deeper dive, decreasing 33 percent. Sales to the U.S., the third country in terms of importance for Italian exports, rose 17.1 percent, totaling 3.3 billion euros, or $3.6 billion. Business in the U.K. was up 5.7 percent. Sales in China were up 9.8 percent; Hong Kong rose 7.8 percent, and Korea grew 14.4 percent. Japan was stable with an increase of 0.3 percent.
Italy confirmed a rebound, with brisk business in November.
By category, the study reported that textiles in particular showed a rebound, while the leather pipeline remained weak.
Fashion online sales in the main four European markets — Germany, the U.K., France and Italy — totaled 26.6 billion euros, or $29.5 billion, in 2015, counting 80 million consumers.