All eyes on Chennai

31 January 2019

More than 450 companies, including at least 150 from overseas, will descend on the city of Chennai for this year’s India International Leather Fair, the country’s premier leather trade event.

The 34th edition of the India International Leather Fair (IILF) takes place at Chennai Trade Centre on 1–3 February. Once again, it is organised by the India Trade Promotion Organisation in collaboration with the Council for Leather Exports and apex leather bodies.

The fair will feature a wide range of products relating to the leather industry, from raw materials to auxiliary products such as finished leather, shoes and shoe components, leather garments, accessories, leather goods, machinery and chemicals. IILF has always been a bellwether for the Indian leather industry and visitors will be attracted to exhibits displayed by more than 450 companies, including more than 150 from abroad.

This year’s fair comes at an interesting juncture for India’s leather industry. Exports of leather, leather products and footwear increased by 5.25% (value in rupees) during the period April–October compared with the same period last year.

“The exports showed a decline of 9.84% and 3.56% in dollar terms during 2015–16 and 2016–17 respectively,” the minister of state of commerce and industry commented.

According to the latest edition of the World Footwear Yearbook, in 2017 India overtook the US as the second-largest consumer of footwear, a milestone in Asia’s ascent in the world market, reflecting strong demographic and economic trends. It also reveals that the country was the second-largest producer of footwear in 2017, with 2.4 billion pairs and a global share of 10.2%.

Challenges remain, however. For instance, leather garment and footwear manufacturers have asked the government not to treat semi-finished leather as a finished product fit for export, as this has a significant impact on the availability of domestic raw materials. According to news reports, the demand is a reaction to a recent request that semi-finished-leather makers obtain a permit to export their products as finished leather, which would contribute to increased exports.

Indian leather industry

The major production centres for leather and leather products in India are located in:

Tamil Nadu – Ambur, Chennai, Dindigul, Erode, Pernambut, Ranipet, Trichy, Vaniyambadi and Vellore

  • West Bengal – Kolkata
  • Uttar Pradesh – Agra, Kanpur, Noida and Saharanpur
  • Maharashtra – Mumbai
  • Punjab – Jallandhar
  • Karnataka – Bangalore
  • Andhra Pradesh – Hyderabad
  • Haryana – Ambala, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Karnal and Panchkula
  • Delhi Madhya Pradesh – Dewas
  • Kerala – Calicut and Ernakulam.

Source: World Footwear

IILF 2019:Facts at a glance

Main supporting organisations

  • Council for Leather Exports
  • Central Leather Research Institute
  • Indian Shoe Federation
  • Indian Finished Leather Manufacturers & Exporters Association
  • Indian Footwear Components Manufacturers’ Association


  • Wenzhou Donnor Exhibition Group
  • G&F (Fujian Foreign Economic Service Trade Corporation)
  • Splendour Group, China
  • CICB, Brazil
  • ASSOMAC/ITC, Italy
  • Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs & Energy, Germany
  • National pavilions of Brazil, China, France, Germany and Italy

Strengths of Indian leather sector

  • Own raw material source – three billion square feet of leather produced a year
  • Strong and sustainable tanning base
  • Modernised manufacturing units
  • Trained/skilled labour at competitive wage levels
  • World-class institutional support for design and product development, HRD and R&D
  • Supports industries such as leather chemicals and finishing auxiliaries
  • Presence in major markets – long European experience
  • Strategic location in Asian landmass Emerging strengths
  • Design development initiatives
  • Continuous modernisation and technology upgrades
  • Economic size of manufacturing units
  • Constant human resource development to enhance productivity
  • Increasing use of quality components
  • Shorter prototype development time
  • Delivery compliance
  • Growing domestic market for footwear and leather articles

Source: Council for Leather Exports


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