The Italian fashion industry still expects sharp declines in sales during the first two quarters of 2021, after falling by 26 percent in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a survey released by Confindustria Moda, the umbrella association which comprises Sistema Moda Italia (SMI), which groups the textile and apparel firms Assocalzaturifici, the shoemakers’ association; Assopellettieri, representing the leathergoods industry; Anfao, the trade association representing eyewear manufacturers; Associazione Italiana Pellicceria, for the fur industry; Federorafi for jewelers; and the Italian tanners’ association, Unic.

Confindustria Moda said that the drop in sales for the Italian fashion industry is expected to be 18.4 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021, roughly in line with the last quarter of 2020, when the decline reached 20.0 percent. In the second quarter, the decrease is seen narrowing to about 10 percent.

The inflection point is anticipated in the third quarter, with a strong pickup forecast in the fourth quarter. A progressive return to pre-Covid activity is expected during 2022.

The survey showed that only 12 percent of respondents expect their activity to grow in the first half, 47 percent foresee an uptick in the second part of the year and 41 percent anticipate a negative trend for the whole year.

It also indicated that 63 percent of the panel has not experienced growth in foreign demand. The remaining 37 percent have noticed an improvement in foreign orders, driven by China and the U.S. and followed by Germany and France.

Confindustria Moda estimates that revenues for the industries it represents fell to €72.5 billion last year.

A separate survey by the investment bank Mediobanca estimates the decline in revenues for the Italian fashion industry at 23 percent in 2020 and sees a return to pre-crisis sales levels in 2023. This year, the sector’s sales are expected to rise by about 10 percent, it predicted. Mediobanca’s study covers 177 Italian companies with annual revenues of over €100 million.

In 2019, Mediobanca’s panel had sales of €71.1 billion. It saw sales rise by an annual average of 4.8 percent between 2015 and 2019. Over the period, the furs, leather and footwear sub-section increased sales by an annual average of 7.8 percent.