A glance at the Italian Textile and Clothing Industry

A glance at the Italian Textile and Clothing Industry

The Italian Textile Industry has a global market share of seven percent and is the second major producer behind China. Italy is also a pioneer in the premium market segment

The famous fashion sector is the most important consuming sector of Italian textiles, known for high quality and an association with the Italian way of life (La Dolce Vita). SMI the industrial federation Sistema Moda Italia estimates that the turnover of the textile and apparel sector totalled in 2012 EUR 50.5 million, thereof textiles six to eight million EUR.

As we are all aware of the fact that actually Italy’s domestic market is currently experiencing a strong decline since private consumption decreased 4.2 % in 2012 because of sinking real wages. This had its effect on the textile and apparel industry with a falling domestic consumption (-10 %) to EUR 26.7 billion. There were also less imports (-7.3 %) to EUR 18.8 billion. On the other hand, exports increased 0.7 % to about EUR 27.2 billion. Exports to Europe dropped slightly, but these exports still have a share of around 50 %. Strong markets for Italian textiles and fashion are the USA, Japan, china, Hong Kong, Turkey and Russia. As a supplier Italy ranges also second behind China with destinations such as France and Spain. In Germany Italy is the fourth largest supplier for textiles and apparel, however it delivered 8.2 % less textiles in the first two months of 2013, whereas apparel increased 1.8 %, thus compensating the weak textile demand because of its larger volume.

Italy has been a pioneer in exporting yarns and woollen fabrics, accounting for a global export share of 28.6 %. Italy ranks second worldwide in vie to other products, like silk fabrics (share 14.1 %), apparel (6.7 %) and hosiery (10.7 %). Since the beginning of the financial crisis the share of the textile and fashion industry in the manufacturing sector has been on the rise. About one out of eight (12.7 %) of the Italian production plants are working in the textile and fashion sectors and have enjoyed a better performance than the rest of the processing industry, thus adding to its reputation.

The two sectors are mainly located in three regions, Lombardy, Tuscany and Veneto. Almost half of all companies are to be found there, 20 % in Lombardy, 17.8 % in Toscana and 10 % in Venetia.

The textile sector works very closely with the fashion sector. In the future new opportunities will be open for high quality fabrics for instance for the automotive, shipping and yachting industry. The strong argument and foreign attraction “Made in Italy” is to continue. A recovery of the Italian economy, scheduled in the second half of 20123 will not only revive the domestic market, but induce also investment because of an easier accessibility to loans. Among other things this will create opportunities for textile machinery manufacturers in Italy and elsewhere.

Italy imported textile machinery in 2012 (-15 %) at a value of EUR 459 million. Almost half of the machines came from abroad and Germany was the major supplier (EUR 140 million). In turn the Italian machinery sector provides prospects for German and other traditional suppliers of structural elements.


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