Market report on China, Korea and Russia – November 2018

Sales volumes on an acceptable level, but prices still too low in China

Overall the Chinese economy is going through a slow period and the US-China trade war initiates a lot of uncertainty, which results in that the consumers are careful in spending their money. You can find fur products in all fashion categories: luxury, high end, mid level and low end. Also opinions about the market development vary. Depending on whom you talk to, you can get quite a few different opinions.

Textile industry continues including fur into their collections

Manufacturers of fur garments are our most important target group, but textile and fashion manufacturers are getting more and more relevant. One reason for this is the low price level of furs, which makes the textile and fashion companies interested in including fur into their collections. Chinese manufacturers in Xinji for instance have received bigger orders for parka coats with fur trims, though the majority of manufacturers focus on reducing their stock from previous seasons. This inevitably affects the prices and new collections are very challenging to price. It is also seen that more factories than before, buy directly from pelt dealers, aiming for short lead-times and avoiding inventory risks.

It is crucial to attract as much buyers to the auction as possible in order to maintain the competition and be able to get the high prices. Saga is proud that its auctions once again in comparison have the highest attendance.

A lot of resellers are moving to Haining, which has become the fur centre of China. Saga is very active in the region and has for instance started a Design and Technique Programme in co-operation with Chinese leading design school Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology.

Main colour, good quality velvet minks – like White, Brown, Black, Pale Palomino and Pearl are in demand.

Fashion seems to favour light colours for the moment. Of foxes Shadow foxes and light Blue Fox pelts seem to be popular. The dark coloured fox pelts seem to move quite slowly. Blue Fox is mostly used in parka-style down jackets and different down garments with fur trims interest the market for the moment.

In Korea shops are offering more fur garments than before

The Korean economy is also not very strong for the moment, and consumer are very cautiously spending on consumer goods. The unstable political situation with North Korea, US and China makes predicting the future hard.

As a whole there are more fur garments in the shops compared to previous year. Pelt dealers report that of the foxes Blue Fox and Blue Frost fox are getting much attention now and much of the fox is used for trimming.

Of the minks, Blacks interest the end customers, though Brown pelts for dying, gain in popularity. Silverblue and Pearl demand has increased and customers emphasize good underwool quality. The demand of Silverfox has decreased as the price has risen. Finnraccoon is still a popular fur item for trimming. Grading is felt to be very important.

Around 60% of the garments are black, but a lot of manufacturers also produce colourful products. Plenty of mutations and dyed pelts are used and combining fur with other materials is getting more and more popular.

The manufacturers find sales satisfactory, some companies even increased sales by 10-15%. But even though sales are on a good level, the prices on garments are too low due to fierce competition.

Quite a few new companies from outside the fur trade are now being established and many corporates from other countries are entering the Korean retail market. This is even further increasing price competition in retail.

Fur manufacturing is growing in Russia

The Russian ruble has been unstable during most of the year, but has during the last month become 5-6% stronger against the Euro and the US-dollar. Oil prices are increasing for the moment, which supports the consumer confidence and the economy in general, as does also low unemployment figures and rising wages.

The autumn in Russia has been very warm, which has resulted in the fur garments moving slowly. However it looks like small retailers are not doing very well, while the bigger players in the retail market perform clearly better. Manufacturing of fur garments and accessories has started to increase in southern Russia and lack of know-how forces the manufacturers to import labour from Greece and even from China.

During the season 2017/2018 Russian buyers bought significantly more mink than during the previous season, which might be a sign of slowly recovering fur business.

Saga is actively making the auction house known in the Russian market and taking strong marketing actions to make fur better known and presenting new ways of using fur.

  • Saga was present at the16th Chapeau Fair 2018 in Moscow in September, where all the major Russian skin dealers from Moscow, Novosibirsk, Pyatigorsk and Nizhny Novgorod were presented. Saga Furs was the only action house participating in the exhibition. An especially the workshops, organized by Saga Furs twice a day, attracted much attention.
  • Saga also took part in in the Fashion Forum in St.Petersburg 4-5 October. A big crowd of Russian and international fashion experts took part in the fair to discuss hot fashion topics. Saga received much attention with its impressive stand and master class workshops, where new techniques were presented.
  • Saga’s worldwide fur fashion tour, Fur Vision – also stopped at Moscow. Saga’s own designers from the Design Centre in Denmark introduced new ideas to leading Russian designers, the largest Russian fur manufacturers as well as manufacturers of accessories and hats.