The response is expected, given the ongoing macroeconomic situation with rising costs and inflation and falling demand for leather.

In one question, the number of tanners who reported poor sales and turnover increased from 25% in 2022 to 37% in 2023. Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale, those reporting excellent sales and turnover fell from 7% to 4%.

Rising costs were reported by 68% of respondents as a major concern over the past 12 months, more than any other option. Lower order volumes (61%), lack of demand for leather from consumers (56%) and high energy costs specifically (46%) were also leading issues.

Looking forward, however, only 47% of respondents cited rising costs as an issue, suggesting that a limit may be reached with recovery on the horizon. Lack of demand (57%) and lower order volumes (57%) remained major concerns for tanners over the next year.

Finally, it was interesting to note that tanners reporting pandemic recovery as little to no change increased from 8% in 2022 to 13% in 2023, while the remaining respondents were split almost evenly between a return to normal (30%), significant recovery (29%) and minor recovery (28%).

The full results of the 2023 Tanner Business Confidence Survey are available now on the website for all ILM subscribers, including a greater array of insight into the financial situation for tanners alongside a range of other data and hot button issues.

Subscribe to ILM today to access the full results as well as the latest leather industry news, technical and legislative updates, thought leadership and much more.