According to Assomac, the Italian Association of Manufacturers of Footwear, Leather Goods and Tannery Machinery, after a positive two years, the sector suffered a setback in 2015 with a 1.93% overall production growth; lower than in 2014 (9.56%), but still representing more than twice the growth rate of the overall Italian economy.

Performance in 2015 was primarily driven by exports; the most important share of the turnover on the sector’s balance sheet, which increased for the third year running. Overall exports, including machinery for synthetic products and other machinery, recorded a 2.28% increase to €431.64 million, but lower than in previous years.

“Ending 2015 with a plus sign, albeit with lower values than 2014, is an indication of our longevity. The challenge for the near future will be to maintain our leadership in terms of sustainability, energy saving, transparency and traceability – hugely strategic areas if our companies are to be competitive”, said Gabriella Marchioni Bocca, President, Assomac, during the association’s general meeting.

In terms of destinations, Western Europe represented 15.15% of the total tanning machinery exports, 23.28% of footwear machinery exports and 40.94% of leather goods machinery exports.

Exports to Central/North America are also said to be on the rise. The region lies in fifth place as an export destination for the leather/footwear machinery but often represent relatively small volumes.

“Our strength lies in a single word; innovation. We are pressing companies to be dynamic, ready to change and to welcome change. This is what we have always done. We export to 120 countries around the world and know what it means to be innovative and rise to market challenges”, added Bocca.