The latest Leatherbiz Market Intelligence newsletter went live in the website on January 24. With the Lunar New Year holiday following so closely after Christmas this year, the report suggests that the leather pipeline has still to get going properly in 2023. Though, a lot is riding on a potential recovery in China.
Elsewhere, automotive is ticking along, with leather doing reasonably well, but only at the higher end. Furniture is slow because of a downturn in property sales and because, after two strong years (boosted by people having to spend more time than usual at home during covid lockdowns), the need for new furniture is lower than usual.
In footwear, meanwhile, the report says that many major sports and casual shoe brands have decided to stop using leather, more or less, by 2025. At the commodity end of the shoe market, leather could scarcely be more affordable than it is today. If the low prices of the current market are not enough to bring footwear companies back to leather, it is difficult to know what will.
This brings us back to China. For there to be any hope of a boost for the leather sector in 2023, Chinese consumers will have to return to the market with a high level of enthusiasm following their delayed release from covid restrictions. Only after their New Year holiday will it become clear if the prospects for this are good.