ANFAO Reports Softness in Italian Exports in First Half, Uptrends in Emerging Markets


MILAN—According to a new report recently published by ANFAO (Italian Optical Goods Manufacturers’ Association) for the January through June 2018 period, from a global perspective, the first half of 2018 points to uncertainty in international growth. Worldwide GDP grew at a good pace, but with signs of slowing in some countries and a rising risk of decline, due primarily to tariffs and possible ensuing escalation of those, as well as to energy cost increases and financial tensions in some emerging countries, the report stated. Narrowing the focus to Italy, the report continued, there was a pause in foreign-driven sales caused by the halt in global trade, a weakening in European growth compared to last year and the effects of the appreciation of the euro in 2017.

Export figures for the first half of 2018 confirm the global slowing trend compared to the previous period. January to June 2018 experienced a 2.9 percent drop in the overall value of Italian eyewear exports. In detail, there was a 1.8 percent decrease in value for frames and a more pronounced 3.6 percent for sunglasses. “The numbers for the first six months of this year, reflect a less-than-brilliant moment. Sunglasses were especially hard-hit, perhaps influenced by the unfavorable weather conditions in the first half of the year, or due to fears tied to increasing political uncertainty,” stated ANFAO president Giovanni Vitaloni

In January to June 2018, industry exports to specific geographical areas recorded negative performance including a dip to America of 2.3 percent, a decline in Europe of 2.5 percent and in Asia, a drop of 4.5 percent. Overall exports of frames and sunglasses to the U.S. (consistently the industry’s number one market with a share of more than 25 percent of its overall exports) was down by 3.2 percent compared to the prior year’s six month period. Frames performed better, staying nearly stable (-0.2 percent) compared to under-performing sunglass exports, which were down by 12.2 percent in value.

Total exports of sunglasses and frames to Europe in the first half also declined, compared to the same period in 2017. Nevertheless, overall exports of Italian sunglasses and frames to Norway (+27.8 percent) and Sweden were up over 27 percent and 21 percent, respectively, in the first six months of the year. Among emerging countries, the figures from the first six months in Mexico (+26.7 percent) and India (+28.1 percent) were encouraging.

The mood among Italy’s industry professionals seems positive, the ANFAO report noted. “DaTE, the first post-summer industry event, sent a clear message in that regard. The avant-garde show, which just closed in Florence Sept.22 to 24, was a huge success with industry professionals, to the great satisfaction of the exhibitors on hand.”

“This is the spirit and the optimism that we hope will be the theme that runs through the coming months,” concluded Vitaloni. MIDO ANF will be held in Milan Feb. 23 to 25, 2019 at the Rho-Pero convention center.