APLF’s return to Hong Kong
coincides with its 40th anniversary

Statement from David Bondi, Director of APLF and Senior Vice President at Informa Markets Asia

Since the last edition of APLF in 2019, before the pandemic, the leather industry has had to face a number of challenges. Demand in the footwear sector remains sluggish and there is an oversupply of raw hides and skins due to increased beef consumption in developing countries, particularly in China. This oversupply has affected the market, generating lower volumes and values for tanneries. In addition, the Italian leather industry is having to deal with new environmental, traceability and deforestation regulations imposed by the European Commission, which are exerting further pressure on margins. Despite these challenges, luxury brands have maintained their position, with leather goods and bag sales driving their success.

Another positive aspect is the boom in the Chinese automotive market, which in 2023 recorded over 30 million new units, 9.7 million of which are hybrid or fully electric vehicles. This year, APLF followed a Three Shows in One format, including APLF Leather, Materials+ and Fashion Access. The layout was adapted to improve overall efficacy. The leather fair was moved to Level 3 while Fashion Access and Materials+ were relocated on Level 1. These changes aim to transform the trade show into an event focused on sustainable fashion, attracting not only leather goods buyers but also fashion designers, interior designers and buyers for younger generations. From raw materials to a broad selection of finished leathers for all applications, but also the machinery, equipment, chemicals and services required to produce these leathers. All major leather producing countries attended, including 18 national halls representing Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Portugal, Mexico, Spain, Thailand, Turkey and the USA.

The trade show is therefore a barometer of the market for the last three quarters of 2024. There is no doubt that leather must seek to compete with constantly improving synthetic materials, especially in the footwear sector, which is experiencing a boom in sneaker sales. Materials+ focused on green technology, advanced fashion materials, innovative components, modern manufacturing processes and natural materials for the leather goods and footwear industries. Fashion Access presented a wide range of finished products, including bags, travel items, clothing, footwear and fashion accessories. Among the exhibitors were also brands offering manufacturing services for companies seeking outsourcing opportunities.

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