Gulf region’s leather trade creates new industry platform in Dubai

Published:  26 September, 2014

Leatherworld Middle East brings new opportunities for manufacturers, suppliers as UAE leather imports and exports value US$2 billion in 2013. The Gulf region’s love of luxury goods and its thriving leather trade will be underlined by a new event in Dubai, paving the way for leather manufacturers, suppliers, and buyers to capitalise on growing opportunities in one of the world’s most business-friendly environments.

The launch of the three-day Leatherworld Middle East exhibition comes as the billion dollar trade of leather goods and accessories in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) reflects a new landscape of rising opportunity in the global leather industry.

According to Euromonitor International, the value of leather imports and exports across the GCC was US$3.9 billion in 2013, including semi-finished and finished leather products, travel goods, accessories, handbags, and footwear.

The UAE holds the lion’s share of the figure, at US$2 billion, while Saudi Arabia, which also is a big manufacturer of leather products, saw US$1.1 billion worth of leather imports and exports in 2013.

Dubai, which commands 30% of the Middle East’s luxury market according to consultancy firm Bain & Company, is the second-most important global destination for international retailers, after London.

The influx of leather trade and persistent spending on luxury goods in Dubai and wider region presents an ideal backdrop for the inaugural edition of Leatherworld Middle East, which takes place from May 4-6 2015 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The three-day event has gathered wide support from leading international leather trade and tannery associations, including the French Hides Association (Syndicat General des Cuirs et Peaux) and the French Federation of Tanners (Federation Française de la Tannerie Mégisserie) and is the Middle East’s first and only dedicated trade event covering the entire value chain of the global leather industry.

Encompassing tanneries (semi-finished and finished leather), chemicals, and machinery to finished leather goods, including footwear, bags, wallets, accessories, furniture and everything derived from leather, the dedicated trade platform will bring together industry stakeholders all under one roof.

Through Leatherworld Middle East, organiser Epoc Messe Frankfurt is seeking to build crucial market synergies and harness together the various sources of supply in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia with leading international leather goods manufacturers and designers.

“By launching Leatherworld Middle East, we are facilitating the growth of profitable relationships across the entire spectrum of leather trade,” said Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Epoc Messe Frankfurt.

“We are experiencing a considerable response from the leather trade and are expecting at least 120 exhibitors for the inaugural show. Global leather brands, tanneries and manufacturers can secure supplies for operations from dozens of potential suppliers all under one roof, while at the same time showcase their own products to thousands of buyers and retailers.”

Pauwels said that Leatherworld Middle East also enhances the growing trend of vertical integration of the leather supply chain, by bringing more buyers and sellers into one place at one time.

He added: “Global manufacturers and brands can evaluate potential acquisitions at Leatherworld Middle East and identify key business opportunities to control supply, costs and quality of raw leather products and supplies. The show gives them more options when looking to outsource the production of value-added processed goods and labour intensive production to improve price competitiveness.”

Leatherworld Middle East is expected to attract wide participation from upstream exhibitors (tanneries, chemicals, and machinery) from the Middle East, Asia and Africa and downstream exhibitors (finished goods manufacturers) from Europe.

The show floor will feature exclusive product zones, including ‘The Shoe Box’, a section dedicated entirely for footwear; ‘The Trend Zone’, for tanneries to display the latest international leather trends, from colours, leather types, innovation and eco leather; and ‘The Fashion Avenue’, where suppliers of high street fashion leather products showcase their high-end leather clothes and accessories.

Meanwhile, the Leatherworld Middle East Conference will highlight key issues and trends shaping the future of the leather industry worldwide.

About Leatherworld Middle East

Leatherworld Middle East is the region’s first and only trade show covering the entire value chain of the global leather industry, from tanneries (semi-finished and finished leather), chemicals, and machinery, to finished leather items (footwear, fashion accessories, etc).

The inaugural edition of the Middle East’s premier trade show dedicated to the leather industry will bring together leading suppliers and manufacturers from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, presenting exciting new business and networking opportunities for professionals in the wholesale trade, consumer stores and retail trade industries. Visit: for more information.

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