The Turkish leather industry has a history dating back more than 500 years. The sector’s production is based on combination of two assets; modern technology and historical background. Today, the sector is known worldwide with its well-designed and fashionable products. Although initial efforts to modernize the leather industry began in the 70s, significant progress on a real industrial scale began in the mid-80s.
The sector has showed a rapid progress in recent years. Today, production is made in line with the international standards and great importance is attached to environmentally-friendly production policies – about 90% of the production is based on health and environmental standards.
According to Social Security Institution Statistics there are 6.544 workplaces producing leather and leather related products and 65.257 insured persons in 2019. Leather manufacturers are mainly located in Istanbul (Tuzla), Izmir (Menemen), Tekirdag (Corlu), Usak, Denizli, Bolu (Gerede), Bursa, Balikesir (Gönen), Isparta, Hatay and Manisa (Kula).
Istanbul (Zeytinburnu) is considered as the most important trade centre for the Turkish leather wear industry. Technological advancements in the sector, which are a must for a competitive industry, are increasing rapidly. Today, Turkish leather sector exports its own technology The leather products sector realizes the change in itself by complying with the spirit of time.
Now, the industry embarks upon to look for added value and advantageous innovation, branding and design. Turkish leather wear industry produces the finest women and men leather garments. Most of the big companies in the sector produce original collections with their own brand names. The sector creates its own fashion by using an unsurpassed blend of colors, patterns, manufacturing care and quality materials.
Thanks to these traits of the sector, Turkish leather wear products have a good reputation and are appreciated all over the world.
The leather industry is one of the significant export sectors of Turkey. Exports of leather and leather products industry have increased by 2.6% in 2019, reaching 1.63 billion US dollars.
The most important item being exported is footwear with a share of 57% in those 1.63 billion US dollars. On the other hand, leather goods industry has a 20.7% share in the exports of leather and leather products while raw leather has a share of 12.5%.
Leather and Leather Products Exports of Turkey (US$)
The majority of the exports of the sector were used to be directed to the Russian Federation and other Commonwealth of Independent States-CIS countries through shuttle trade. But after the economic crisis in the Russian Federation in 1998, the Turkish leather wear industry sought for new markets and today, the industry exports to more than 180 countries.
Exports of leather wear amounted almost US$ 140 million in 2019. The main markets such as Germany (14,6%), France (11,9%) and the U.S.A. (10,3 %) are followed by Netherlands (9,6%) in 2019.
Turkish saddler products sector has also showed a remarkable progress in terms of exports along with shoes. Exports of Turkish leather trunks, suitcases and handbags reached at US$ 184 million in 2019. Italy (22%), England (7,9 %) and Germany (%6,8) were the main destinations for leather trunks, suitcases and handbags in 2019.
The other significant markets were France, Iraq, Sweden and Spain for the same period.
Turkey exhibits its unique leather wear collections, capacity and products in major leather fairs which are mostly organized in Istanbul.
Leather and Leather Related Industries Trade Fairs Schedule
- Turkish Leather Council
- Leather Manufacturers´ Association of Turkey
- Footwear Industrialists Association of Turkey
- Istanbul Textile and Apparel Exporters’ Associations
- Aegean Exporters’ Associations
- Southeast Anatolia Exporters’ Associations
- Uludağ Exporters’ Association
- Denizli Exporters’ Association
- Mediterranean Exporter Associations