Home NEWS UK Leather & Leather Goods Industry Reports Decline

UK Leather & Leather Goods Industry Reports Decline

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The UK Leather & Leather Goods Industry’s latest 2023 report reveals a significant downturn, with total export values dropping by 14.4% and total import values decreasing by 20.7% compared to 2022. This continues the trend of declining trade that began at the end of the previous year. The growth seen in 2022 appears to have been an anomaly, spurred by suppressed demand during the Covid pandemic lockdowns. The current trend shows a clear reduction in both the value and volume of exports and imports.

Raw material exports saw a sharp decline in value, while semi-finished and finished leather experienced smaller decreases. Bovine finished leather exports, which constitute 95% of the UK’s finished leather exports, fell by 23% in volume and 14.5% in value. Imports of raw materials also dropped significantly, with a nearly 40% decrease in value. Bovine hide imports, the primary component of UK leather imports, declined by 35.5% in value and 30% in volume.

The EU remains a crucial trade partner for the UK. The upcoming EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) poses a substantial risk of disrupting the trade in raw hides and bovine leather between the UK and the EU.

In 2023, the UK continued to be a net importer of leather goods. The trade deficit decreased to £562 million, down from £645 million in 2022. This reduction reflects a 6.7% decline in the value of leather goods exports, although volumes increased by 3.2%. The fall in export values was partially offset by a decline in import values.

Despite these challenges, the UK leather industry maintains a strong global market presence, with UK-manufactured finished leather sold in over 80 countries. The industry is expected to closely monitor market changes and regulations to continue its progress.