The Spanish fashion sector is one of the most dynamic in our economy, and niches such as children's, bridal, intimate, women's and men's clothes, footwear, leather goods, costume jewelry and fine jewelry have turned to internationalization to overcome the current financial crisis. According to data gathered by ESTACOM, between January and July 2012, sales abroad of fashion made in Spain reached 15.76% more than during the same period the hear before, for a total of €6.168 billion.
The international situation for Spanish brands is current going through a period of maturity that is successfully bolstering growth abroad. And through that effort, garments and accessories with the "Made in Spain" label have successfully opened doors across the globe. According to the Vente-privee.com-Modaes.es Barometer of Fashion Companies in Spain 2012, "opening new markets is undoubtedly the primary frontier for a great many Spanish fashion businesses that have taken the lead over other sectors in our economy by introducing their brands and products on the international markets."
According to this barometer, the leading Spanish brands earned an average of 44% last year from their sales on international markets, and approximately 49% of the companies surveyed believe that 2012 will be a positive year for their sales abroad.
Europe: leading the way for our exports
Our fashion and accessories exports have increased during the first six months of the year on all continents, where Europe, and especially the countries of the EU, once again represent 76.45% of the total sales abroad. Trailing far behind, although with a significant increase in transactions, are Asia (11.64%), the Americas (9%), Africa (2.2%) and Oceania (0.33%).
France is in the lead in the acquisition of fashion made in Spain. During the first seven months of the year, according to data from ESTACOM, our exports increased by around 12% compared to the same period the year before, surpassing the one billion euro mark. Following far behind are Italy, with sales of around €640 million; Portugal, with sales valued at over €533 million, despite suffering losses over the past two years; Germany, with €402 million; and the United Kingdom, with €316 million.
Beyond the European Union, Switzerland is proving to be a promising market for Spanish fashion and accessories firms, as sales in this small central European land with a population of just 8 million exceeded €320.41 million. Meanwhile, Russia remains cataloged as a priority destination for our firms, and there is an increasing number of companies that look towards the Caucasian country with a view of crossing its borders. Between January and July of this year, sales exceeded €129 million, and in the coming months the number of establishments opened by Spanish businesses is expected to intensify, as is the case with Mango, which plans to open some 30 shops around the country.
In Asia, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are the markets that show the greatest interest in the Spanish fashionbrands. The Middle East became a mecca for our designs in 2011, and sales to that geographical area reached €651 million: 24% more than the year before. Between January and July of this year, transactions also generated positive figures, with an increase of some 23%, up to €326.88 million.
Surviving the financial crisis has become the primary objective of the fashion sector, and with its arrival on the American continent it has achieved a major triumph, considering the current situation. The United States and Mexico are still the top destinations for our clothes and accessories this year, but countries such as Venezuela, Brazil and Chile are gradually gaining ground in the market share.
The race for international expansion has also take our firms to Africa and Oceania, where sales also increased between January and July of this year, by 10% and 4%, respectively.
The Internet: a cutting-edge showcase for Spanish fashion
Electronic commerce, ICTs and the use of digital content are changing companies' positions in the fashion sector on the international stage. Electronic sales have increasingly greater weight in the total volume of sales for many firms, which is why there are more and more brands that are selling their garments on the Web. According to the Vente-privee.com-Modaes.es Barometer of Fashion Companies in Spain 2012 "online shops make it possible to introduce a brand on new markets without having to make significant investments, so e-commerce has also become a means for companies to achieve international expansion."
According to the consulting firm Nielsen, clothes, shoes and accessories are the second category in purchase intent on the Web among European consumers. That is why it comes as no surprise that in the past three years our companies have improved their virtual shop windows and simplified the processes for purchases and returns, innovating through this sales channel that has become one of the leading commercial activities for internationalization on the World Wide Web.
The most recent data gathered by the Spanish Telecommunications Market Commission (CMT) indicates that during the first quarter of the year, Spanish online sales of clothes abroad continued to gain strength and recorded a year-on-year increase of 89.15%, up to €49.2 million. In addition, the footwear sector and leather goods sector have taken up positions on the electronic markets, increasing their sales outside of Spain by 13.4%.