Leather is a flexible and durable material manufactured by tanning animal skin or raw hide. Globally, it is one of the most widely traded commodities. Leather is mostly produced from cattle skin; however, lamb and deer skin are also used for the creation of soft leather which is fairly expensive. Deer skin is used for the production of indoor shoes and work gloves; but, the production of such leather is minimal owing to the restriction imposed by governments regarding use of deer skin. Skins of many other animals such as snake, buffalo goat, kangaroo, alligator, and yak are used for the production of leather. The production of leather has noticeable environmental impact due to the usage and release of chemicals from the leather to water bodies, increasing biological oxygen demand, and endangering the lives of humans and animals dependent on the source. During the transformation process, huge amounts of pollutants are released into the atmosphere. These include gases such as hydrogen sulfide, which increase global warming levels across the globe. Production of leather is responsible for the increase in global carbon footprint, which is defined as the total set of greenhouse emission created by an event expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent. Finished leather is used in production of various products such as furniture covers, shoes, jackets, belts, wallets, trousers, wallpaper, and for bookbinding.
The market for finished leather is anticipated to witness moderate growth during the forecast period. Recent developments and innovations in terms of design and use of different types of animal skin are the prime factors augmenting the growth of this market.
Based on application, the market for finished leather products can be broadly segmented into the following categories: consumer goods, commercial goods, and others. Consumer goods segment is further segregated into footwear, luggage, wallets, belts, jackets, and accessories. In terms of application, the consumer goods segment held significant share of the market in 2016 and is anticipated to continue its position during the forecast period. Increasing competition among retailers and continuous fragmentation of the market are factors likely to boost the growth of the consumer goods segment during the forecast period. In consumer goods, the footwear segment accounted for prime share of the market in 2016 followed by the luggage and accessories segment. Efforts undertaken by manufacturers in terms of innovation and new product design are the factors accelerating the growth of the footwear segment that will inadvertently drive the growth of the finished leather market. Rising population coupled with the increasing disposable income are potential drivers for growth of this market. However, stringent government regulations regarding the usage of certain animal skin (such as deer) for production of leather can hinder the growth of this market during the forecast period.
Geographically, Asia Pacific held significant share of the market in 2016 and is anticipated to retain its position during the forecast period. Robust leather manufacturing industry in emerging economies of Asia Pacific such as India and China is the prime reason for the growth of the finished leather market in this region. The Indian leather industry accounts for 13% of the world’s leather production. It ranks second in terms of footwear and leather garments production in the world and accounts for 9% of the world’s footwear production according to IBEF (India Brand Equity Foundation). Latin America accounts for major share of the finished leather market, with the Brazil leather industry having produced 1832 mn sq ft of leather in 2015. It is the second largest leather producer after China. North America and Europe are mature markets and accounted for a small share of the global finished leather market in 2016.
Key players operating in the finished leather market are LANXESS, American Leather, Inc., and APLF Limited.
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