World retail sales of fur products edged up to $15.6 billion in 2011/12, an increase of almost $600 million over the previous year, according to the International Fur Trade Federation.
The new total represents a 44% increase over the past decade, the IFTF calculates, and has been driven to a great degree by increasing demand for fur products in Asian markets, including China, Japan and Korea. Fur sales in those markets amounted to $5.6 billion in the latest period, a gain of about 5% over the previous year and more than triple what they were 10 years ago.
Asia now leads the rest of the world in terms of fur consumption, accounting for just over 35% of the total, the organization points out, having passed Europe. According to its latest calculations, European fur sales reached $4.4 billion, or 28% of the global total. Eurasian sales (including Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and Kazakhstan) were $4.4 billion, or 27.5%, and the Americas (North and South) were $1.2 billion, just over 7% of the total. The IFTF consists of 42 national member associations and organizations in 35 countries and has been reporting global retail sales for many years, but this is the first time it has produced a breakdown by country or region. It also points out that, with fur skins trading at record prices at the auctions, this has also contributed to the increase. As has the fact that more than 400 fashion designers are now showing furs in their London, Paris, New York and Milan presentations. In addition, new technology and manufacturing techniques have broadened the use of many furs not only for fall/winter, but even spring/summer.
Mark Oaten, CEO of the IFTF, points out that the latest statistics merely represent retail sales. “Our new working relationship with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) means that later in the year we will be able to release a value for the entire global industry, covering every part of the supply chain from manufacture, dressing and dyeing to design and more”.
“It is increasingly difficult,” concludes Oaten, “for the international business community to ignore an industry that contributes on such a significant scale to the global economy. Despite a sluggish economic backdrop, we are confident that fur sales will continue to buck the trend and I predict further growth in future years.”
From The Sandy Parker Report of May 13, 2013