DUBAI — Global interest in the Middle East and Africa’s (MEA) leather industry is gaining momentum, as international tanneries, designers, suppliers, and manufacturers look to boost business prospects at the region’s dedicated leather trade show in Dubai.
Debut exhibitors from as far away as Australia, the Netherlands, and Thailand, will rub shoulders with a host of returning players at Leatherworld Middle East 2017, as they set sights on a regional market where demand for finished leather products, tanned animal hides, and manufacturing supplies remains strong.
According to analysts Euromonitor International (EMI), the MEA’s production turnover of tanned and dressed leather (including footwear, clothes, and accessories) was worth $4.08 billion in 2016, and estimated to rise to $4.22 billion by 2020.
The retail value of luxury leather goods across the region is also solid; EMI estimates that spending on luxury leather bags, travel goods, and men’s and women’s small leather items, was worth $1.46 billion in 2016, with this rising to $1.84 billion in 2020.
Much of the region’s leather industry revolves around the Gulf countries of Saudi Arabia and the UAE; according to EMI, tanned and dressed leather production in Saudi was worth $367 million in 2016, while UAE consumers spent $473.9 million in 2016 on luxury leather goods, with this set to rise to $586.7 million in 2020.
International and local exhibitors alike will eagerly capitalize on the market at Leatherworld Middle East 2017, which runs on April 30–May 2 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Now in its 3rd edition, the three-day event is the region’s only dedicated trade show spanning the leather industry’s entire value chain, from semi-finished and finished animal hides, chemicals, and machinery to finished leather goods, including footwear, clothing, bags, wallets, and accessories.
Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of organiser Messe Frankfurt Middle East, said: “Leatherworld Middle East is the embodiment of luxury and exclusivity, and this is evident the moment one walks through the entrance into an array of exotic animal hides, high-end consumer goods, or finely tuned machinery.”
“Our vision is to be an incubator of new innovations and to present a knowledge-sharing platform that will be the focal point of the region’s leather industry. To that end, we continue to work with all stakeholders and industry professionals to fine tune the show and provide a more fulfilling exhibitor and buyer experience.”
Among the debut exhibitors at Leatherworld Middle East 2017 is Australian company Boyle Industries, which will showcase a selection of Brazilian hair-on-hides cowhide, used primarily for household interiors or furniture.
Rowen Bavinton, the Director of Boyle Industries, said: “We’ve experienced substantial growth in sales of hair-on-hides cowhide in Australia in the last two years, and the trend of this type of leather as a household decoration is extremely popular worldwide now.
“Currently we do no business in the Middle East, but we anticipate our hides will be similarly popular in this region among homeware retail stores, interior designers, furniture manufacturers, and end-users alike.”
Global International from the Netherlands is one of the world’s largest suppliers of industrial sewing machines, and is another first-time exhibitor at Leatherworld Middle East 2017. Managing Director Joost Lamp, said the Dutch company is looking to boost its MEA dealer network for Global, Strobel, and Ho Hsing sewing machines.
“Global International has more than 400 different sewing machine types for the garment, automotive, leather and shoe industries, while we also have more than 25,000 machines in stock, which means quick delivery,” said Lamp.
“The ‘Global’ sewing machine stands for quality, durability and state-of-the-art, and we look forward to improving our worldwide dealer network at Leatherworld Middle East 2017.”
Leatherworld Middle East 2017 will feature more than 50 exhibitors from 18 countries, and includes national pavilions from France, South Africa, Indonesia, and for the first time, Egypt.
Afriwest is among the top UAE-based companies returning, while international names reinforcing their regional presence again include Lederett from Germany, Italian suppliers Italhide and Real Piel, and Kyraa International from India.
The annual three-day event will return with its key show highlights, such as the Trend Area, an exclusive showcase of exotic leather innovations seen for the first time; and Fashion Avenue, where the UAE’s most talented designers at ESMOD Dubai will present their creative flair with an inspiring array of leather garments, bags, and shoes.
Other features include Leather Production for tanneries and dealers of semi-finished and finished animal hides; and the Shoe Box, a dedicated section for mid to high-end leather footwear. — SG