Colombiatex 2020 Sales Deals Skyrocket Above US$750 Million; Medellin A Big Winner
Medellin-based Inexmoda – the international trade group for textiles and clothing – announced January 23 at the conclusion of the 32nd annual “Colombiatex” trade show here that anticipated sales deals soared to US$753 million — up drastically from US$480 million last year.
The huge jump came even despite an anti-government protest march in Medellin (and also in Bogota), which blocked a few streets — but otherwise had no impact on traffic through the vast Plaza Mayor convention center here.
In total, 546 exhibitors from 21 countries showed off their technologies, products and environmental sustainability efforts — 328 of which came from Colombia. Of those, 46% were from Antioquia , 44% from Cundinamarca and 6% from Valle del Cauca, according to Inexmoda.
“The commercial exhibition was visited by 13,682 buyers, of which 12,587 were Colombians from regions including Antioquia (48%), Cundinamarca (20%) and Valle del Cauca (5%). In addition, 1,542 international buyers visited the event from countries including Ecuador (21%), Peru (17%) and Mexico (13%), among others,” according to the trade group.
The show also featured 114 brands touting “100% Colombian” products and services, including 18 innovative graphic designers in a special “Graphic Market” section.
Businesses in the city of Medellin nabbed another US$9.4 million in hotel, transport and restaurant sales, while hotel occupancy soared to 91% during the three-day show.
“According to studies by the research firm Invamer, business expectations are US$753 million, of which 56% materialized during the event and 44% could be achieved during the year following the event. The categories that activated these business deal were textiles (43%), machinery (12%), chemical inputs (11%), complete package (8%) and textile fibers (6%),” according to Inexmoda.
“There was an increase in the average [sales deal] ticket of 71%, which means an increase in the intention to purchase at Colombiatex 2020,” the group added.
The exhibitors jammed every available corner of the 11,000 square meters available at Plaza Mayor, with India, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Turkey, Pakistan and the USA predominating among the internationals.
Environmental sustainability was a key theme at this year’s edition, with many companies touting initiatives to slash water consumption, reduce waste, recycle fabrics, convert waste plastics to fabrics, and to employ biodegradable chemicals.
“Environmental sustainability is not an option for organizations, it is an obligation,” as Inexmoda CEO Carlos Eduardo Botero stated at the closing press conference. “We are entering an era where the economic sustainability of companies will depend on their environmental sustainability,” Botero added.
A related “trends forum” series of lectures here focused on spring-summer 2020 fashions, attracting some 2,000 attendees.
Beyond the trade-show and “trends-forum” stages, Colombiatex also featured 29 speakers on longer-term fashion, cultural, market and trading tendencies affecting the textile and clothing industries, in collaboration with Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB). An estimated 7,000 persons attended those lectures either in-person at the adjacent Teatro Metropolitano or via internet streaming, according to Inexmoda.
In one such presentation, Coronel Oscar Cortes, sub-director of Colombia’s National Tax and Customs Police, revealed that an estimated US$3 billion worth of contraband textiles, clothes and footwear entered Colombia last year — with a huge negative impact on domestic textile producers.
“Corruption is always involved in contraband,” Cortes explained, adding that National Police have arrested many corrupt customs officials involved in such scams.
Despite a discouraging amount of illegal imports, Colombia’s National Tax and Customs Police are nevertheless making headway against contraband, seizing 11.9 million clothing items last year, up 12% year-on-year, he revealed.
Customs Police also intercepted 1.8 million square meters of textiles — a 353% increase year-on-year. Another 933,000 pairs of contraband shoes were seized, up 28% year-on-year, he said.
Nearly all of this contraband arrives in shipping containers. Although Colombia inspects about 10% of these containers — and has arrested many members of criminal groups involved in such trafficking — more efforts are required to slash contraband volume, he conceded.
Narcotraffickers are often involved in such contraband, by laundering U.S. dollars and Euros (which they obtain from cocaine exports) through China in exchange for contraband clothing, which then turns into “laundered” Colombian pesos upon sales in Colombia, he explained.
One effort to cut such contraband is the recent creation of “legal commercial zones” (or “ZCLs” in Spanish initials), mainly in Medellin, Bogota and Cali, where 551 clothing retailers are already registered and certified for the program, he added.