23 December 2021

Our last Leatherbiz Market Intelligence report of the year is now live in the Intelligence section of the website for subscribers to read.

In the report, we offer a review of 2021 and look forward to next year.

This time last year, it recollects, there was widespread optimism in spite of travel and social restrictions aimed at halting the spread of the covid-19 pandemic. The belief was that vaccines were on their way and would stop covid in its tracks.

Twelve months on and with the omicron variant of the virus now causing new disruptions to companies’ and families’ plans for Christmas and New Year, the report says: “People have learned to live with the restrictions and the circumstances, but somehow you can sense that many people have lost a little faith and hope in a return to what they once had and how they once lived.”

Nevertheless, it strikes some notes of optimism in looking forward to 2022.

It says the furniture sector has, once again, invested extensively in leather and that this will continue until the first quarter of 2022 before demand slows again for seasonal reasons. It describes demand from the footwear sector as steady.

It is the automotive industry that the report describes as something of a wild card for 2022. There is a backlog of orders from consumers for new cars, it explains, because supply chain constraints have prevented car manufacturers from fulfilling demand in 2021.

As long as the bottlenecks ease, automotive brands expect an increase in production in 2022 and this has made many in the leather sector hopeful of a corresponding improvement in demand for leather for car interiors.

Market Intelligence says this is likely, but it sounds one warning. We do not yet know how many of the cars customers are waiting for are from the higher end of original equipment manufacturers’ ranges. To put it another way, it remains to be seen how many of the cars that come off the production lines in 2022 contain leather upholstery.

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