Translated by
Nicola Mira
Feb 22, 2017
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Italy's womenswear revenue sees further growth in 2016, bolstered by exports

Translated by
Nicola Mira
Feb 22, 2017

According to the figures published by the the employers' association of the Italian fashion industry, Sistema Moda Italia (SMI), the Italian women's ready-to-wear industry enjoyed a third consecutive growth year in 2016, reaching a total revenue of €13.07 billion. The growth rate over the previous year was 2.3%, compared to a 2.5% rise in 2015.

Prada's pre-collection for autumn 2017 - © PixelFormula

"[Italian] women's ready-to-wear is reacting better than menswear, which only grew by 0.9% in 2016, reaching €9 billion," said the boss of Florentine show organiser Pitti Immagine, Raffaello Napoleone, speaking on Monday at the presentation of the womenswear trade show Super, scheduled from 25th to 27th February in Milan at the same time as the Fashion Week.

The exports of made-in-Italy shirts notably grew by 8.1% in the first 11 months of 2016, those of knitwear by 5%, while the exports of leather apparel plunged by 11.8%.

"The most interesting element is that [Italy's] exports to Europe grew by 3.2% between January and November 2016, and notably by 4.4% towards France, our main womenswear market, and by 5% towards [Italy's] second market, Germany," he added. "The main reference market remains Europe, clearly bolstered by tourism." Also notable is the recovery in exports towards Russia: they fell by 32.6% in 2015 but in the first 11 months of 2016 they grew by 0.6%.

Altogether, according to SMI estimates, sales of Italian ready-to-wear apparel worldwide are expected to increase in 2016 by 3.9%, up to €8 billion. They now account for more than 60% of the industry's total revenue, while imports are expected to rise by 0.3%, reaching €4.3 billion, generating a €3.7 billion trade surplus.

On the other hand, the domestic market is struggling to recover, and will post a negative result for the fifth year in succession. Considering only the sell-out to end-consumers, their expenditure for women's fashion in 2016 fell by 2.7%, according to data by market research institute Sita Ricerca and by SMI. Expenditure ha fallen from €12.67 billion in 2011 to €10.23 billion last year.

Yet Raffaello Napoleone is optimistic, saying that "the fashion and textile industries in Italy are the country's most dynamic. They make up a robust system, the only one that is able to control the entire value chain, from wool to street, from yarn production to store." 

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