Exports can't save the fashion sector: in 2020 foreign trade recorded a drop of 18.5%, the largest decline to date

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The fashion sector is still mortally wounded as a result of the pandemic and foreign trade has not saved it: in 2020 Spanish exports in clothing, footwear, accessories, cosmetics and jewelry reached a value of 21,200 million euros, which is 18.5% less than the previous year, when the figure reached 26,019, and also the biggest decline to date, as reported by Fashion.

This figure means that the pandemic has left 4,819 million euros in retail exports by the wayside. In fact, the last time Spain sold either was in 2014, with 20,153 million euros. At that time the sector was in full expansion, now, however, it faces a 2021 fraught with uncertainty .

Likewise, one has to look back to 2009 to find the biggest decline for the sector, when there was a drop of 3.3%. After this setback, exports began to pick up momentum and just one year later shot up by 13.4%; and in 2011 they rose to 14.2%. In absolute terms, exports increased by 3,735 million in just two years.

Since then, the increases have remained more or less pronounced. In 2012, they rose by 7.9% and in 2013, by 9.2%. In 2014, when the Spanish economy began to recover, they rose by only 4.3%, a figure that, however, was enough to push exports over the €20 billion barrier for the first time.

Sales do not save fashion: sales fall by up to 53% in January due to pandemic and Filomena

The sector picked up pace again in 2016 and 2017, with rises of 6.4% and 7.4%, respectively. In 2018, they again cooled, up 0.4%, but in 2019 they accelerated again and rebounded 6.1%. Before the financial crisis, the evolution of Spanish fashion exports had been quite irregular. In 2000, Spain exported only 9,556 million euros in fashion. A year later, exports shot up by 10.2% and the following year, by 5.8%.

Women’s fashion is sinking, while toiletries are booming

Toiletries and personal hygiene, boosted by 5% and are already the sixth most important category, above cosmetics, and goldsmithing, with a rise of 9.99%, according to the categories included in the Icex fashion heading.

On the other hand, sales of women’s fashion, which represented almost 40% of the total, fell by 17.7% to 7,758 million euros, followed by footwear, which with 2,060 million euros, represents a drop of 17.8%. On the other hand, fabrics for clothing also fell by 17.2%, to 1,919 million euros.

However, these previous drops fall short if we compare them with those of perfumery, where exports fell by 33.4%, to 1,357 million euros, and men’s fashion, with a plunge of 35% to 1,235 million euros, far from the peak of 2,000 million that they reached in 2017.

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