Now, leather industry turns to French market to spur exports

Written by Kavitha Venkatraman | Chennai | Updated: Oct 15 2010, 05:17am hrs
The countrys leather product manufacturers and exporters could well take a close look at the French market to spur exports in quantity and value terms. The growing dependence of France on imports, especially for luggage and other leather products, throws open a lot of business opportunities for all the developing nations including India, according to Council for Leather Exports (CLE).

According to CLE officials, French leather industry is a main player in the global leather market. It is the 10th largest importer of leather products with 2.3% share in worldwide imports and fourth largest exporter with more than 4.5% share in worldwide exports. France exports mainly to Italy, China, Turkey, US and Germany. It imports leather and leather products from the US, Spain, Australia, Zimbabwe and Germany.

Luggage and leather goods sector is a significant market in France. In 2008, as per the available numbers, the sector was estimated at euro 1.6 billion, next only to Germany, but ahead of Italy and the UK. Handbags accounted for 43% share of the market, followed by suitcases to the extent of 20%, small accessories 16%, business cases 7%, belts 8%, and travel and other bags 6%.

Though France is the second leading producer of luggage and leather goods after Italy, it imported luggage and leather goods valued at euro 1.7 billion, accounting for 18% of all the EU imports. The share of developing nations in imports has been growing over the years and would continue to grow as the imports by the France is climbing up. France has to be viewed as a potentially interesting market by exporters from developing countries especially India. All we need is the right kind of product at interesting prices to target a larger pie in this, said an industry expert, adding, the design and manufacturing capabilities has to be tuned in keeping in mind the importers interest and market conditions.

As of now, according to CLE, France accounts for nearly 6.9% share of Indias total leather products export. The other major markets for India are Germany with a share of 12.73% of total leather products exports, UK 12.52%, Italy 11.74%, US 9.06%, Hong Kong 10.99%, Spain 6.48%, Netherlands 3.31%, Belgium 1.78%, UAE. 1.79%, Australia 1.20%. These ten countries including France together accounts for nearly 78.50% of the countrys total leather products export.