Those who work in the Italian fashion industry know that 2020 was an unprecedented year.
The current health crisis has led to retail shops closing down, production stopping and a collapse in demand that has severely affected a sector that is fundamental for Italian manufacturing.
With over 500.000 employees and a turnover of over 80 billion euros, fashion represents an irreplaceable component of the country’s economy, now severely damaged.
Forecasts for 2020-2021 estimate losses of between 39 and 52 billion euros, while the figures for the first half of this year show a 28% drop in revenues: unprecedented numbers, with some Italian regions such as Tuscany, Marche, Veneto and Lombardy particularly affected.
The decline in demand for clothing in previous months should not, however, divert attention from other fundamental elements.
All those drivers of change to be adopted in order to restart, facing the future with determination.
First among these strategic assets, digital technology.
The greatest resilience has been demonstrated by companies that have embraced the transformation underway: we are not only referring to e-commerce, but to that broader set of solutions that include the use of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence.
In Italy, only 10% of the supply chain has integrated this approach, and these are the realities that have been able to avoid irreparable losses and now look to the future with greater confidence. Some of them have found new consumers outside Europe, diversifying their revenues and reducing their dependence on the internal market: a real lifeline in this period.
We are witnessing a real paradigm shift, in which new technologies are allied to all those companies that have made the protection of Made in Italy a daily practice.
Online sales channels are important, but alone they may not be enough: a complete digital strategy must include broader and more articulated plans.
First, looking abroad: the more than 6 billion exports lost by the fashion supply chain during the past months will push companies to take new ways to be present in foreign markets, aiming at increasing efficiency.
This is also confirmed by Michele Castagna, export manager for eleven years: recently he told us how the current scenario has pushed more and more companies towards an internationalization strategy where digital is the absolute protagonist thanks to databases and Artificial Intelligence algorithms.
For more details, find the interview here.
The continuous search for excellence that has always distinguished the Italian fashion industry must now catch up: to do so it will be crucial to know the right markets and the best counterparts within them.
A goal that requires effective, in-depth and affordable analyses: only in this way will the clothing sector be able to start again, seizing new opportunities inside and outside Italy.