According to the sectorial balance of the Confindustria Moda Study Centre for SMI, Italian men’s fashion (which includes woven apparel, outerwear, shirts, ties and leatherwear) will end the year 2022 in a positive area: turnover, thanks to +20.3% growth, will reach €11.3 billion, thus confirming the forecast growth of +20.5%, and surpassing pre-Covid levels (2019 turnover of €10.1 billion). Men’s fashion accounts for around 18.2% of the overall turnover, and around 27.4% of the clothing segment alone. With reference to the individual micro-compartments, all closed 2022 with positive changes, with shirting posting above-average growth of +28.4%.

Against a lively growth in import flows from abroad, in 2022 the value of production was characterised by favourable dynamics, but at less lively rates than those of turnover, closing the twelve months at +8.4%.

With regard to foreign trade, exports maintained their leading role, accounting for 73.2% of turnover. On a year-on-year basis, exports in the sector recorded a change of +24.8%, approaching EUR 8.3 billion. At the same time, imports experienced an even more dynamic growth of +43.9% to approximately EUR 5.8 billion. Compared to pre-pandemic levels, exports are up +17.9% (i.e. by almost 1.3 billion); imports are up +23.9% (in absolute value almost 1.1 billion more).

In light of the aforementioned export and import dynamics, in 2022 the sector experiences a reduction in the trade balance, which is in surplus by EUR 2.5 billion, losing approximately EUR 115 million over twelve months.

With reference to trade outlets, it should be noted that both the EU and non-EU areas proved to be favourable for the sector, growing by +25.6% and +24.0% respectively. The EU market covers 45.4% of the sector’s total exports, while the non-EU is the largest ‘buyer’, absorbing 54.6%. Similarly, in the case of imports, the EU accounts for 41.4% of the men’s fashion entering our country, while the extra-EU accounts for 58.6%.

The Italian market

The picture is still one of recovery, but still far from pre-pandemic levels. In 2022, purchases of men’s fashion by households show a change of +9.6% compared to the previous year, highlighting a slowdown in the pace of growth. Compared to the 2019 figure, the sell-out is also still -6.5% lower.

At the distribution channel level (please note that these data, being available by season, relate to the period from March 2022 to February 2023), the national men’s market is confirmed to be dominated by chains, whose incidence stands at 46.4%, with large-scale retail outlets in second place, with a share of 22.1%, supported by a recovery in purchases to the extent of +11.7%. Of note here is the slowdown in independent retail, which declined by -1.4% after a rebound of +56.0% in the corresponding period of 2021-22: in the men’s sector, it accounted for a share of 18.6%. In contrast, online, after a setback, which had led to a -12.6% drop in digital sales, returned to growth of +7.1%, which translates into an 8.8% share. During the period under review, the other two physical retailers, i.e. hawkers and outlets, recorded -7.6% and +5.5% respectively.