Italian fashion fuels trade surplus, tourism and jobs


Even though exports by Italy’s fashion industry to the United States dropped 5.6 percent last year, sales to the United Kingdom, Spain, Japan and Russia increased as overall exports in the sector managed modest growth, said Claudio Marenzi, the new president of the Italian Fashion Confederation.

“Last year ended with 1 percent growth at nearly €53 billion,” he said. “There was an €8.9 billion trade surplus, a €225 million increase over 2015. While we’re waiting for confirmation and results of the first quarter, we expect revenues in the textiles and fashion sector to grow by 1.7 percent this year.”
News about Italian fashion
Italy’s fashions and luxury goods generated sales of €53 billion last year and a trade surplus of €8.9 billion (

Though the growth was relatively small, the fashion industry continues to be a pillar of the Italian economy that provides much-needed jobs. The sector has 66,000 companies making clothes, accessories, jewelry and cosmetics that employ almost 630,000 workers.

Last year Italy ranked just ahead of France in luxury sales with 7 percent of the global market and 21 percent of the total in Europe. Among the big Italian firms, Luxottica led in revenues with €8.837 billion, followed by Prada (€3.548 billion), Armani (€2.65 billion) and Calzedonia (€2.018 billion).

But French fashion giant LVMH itself brought in more than all big Italian firms combined: Some €35 billion.

The fashion industry has a big knock-on effect by also fueling shopping tourism. Some 60 percent of fashion purchases in Europe come from travelers. In Italy, a third of fashion tourists are Chinese, followed by Russians (12 percent) and North Americans (8 percent). Among their preferred destinations, Milan (34 percent) is the clear leader, followed by Rome (18 percent).