The report suggests the leather industry could be “heading into difficult territory again”.

The reasons it gives for this are based on the lack of certainty about the months ahead and the problems consumer-facing companies are having in generating positive results.

Although the lifting of national lockdowns in mid-2020 was reflected in more promising third-quarter results, uncertainty remains – particularly as coronavirus cases rose again in October and November.

However, China is certainly an exception to this trend. “China has been performing fantastically,” Leather Pipeline said, “and the numbers for consumption and production are higher than a year ago. This applies to the whole economy, including leather production and consumption. Factories are producing and people are shopping.”

The report goes on to say this is especially true for furniture upholstery. Tanners and furniture manufacturers took advantage of low hide prices earlier in the year to put together collections that have proved popular among consumers, triggering genuine growth in demand.

The automotive leather segment has done well too. This is not the case for side leather producers, though. Tanners in this segment have seen a fall in business by at least 10% compared with last year and, for some, the decline could be as much as 20–30%.