WMido - Milano Eyewear Show - February 3-5 - 2024
Roberto Luongo

Why is internationalisation the way to go?

February 10 2023

The eyewear industry has always stood out for its strong export sector. The statistics from ANFAO regarding 2022 confirm this tendency, reporting that the export figures for frames, sunglasses and lenses represent 90% of manufactured items, and this increased by 22.5%, to over 5 billion euro.

For Roberto Luongo, general manager of ICE (Italian Trade and Investment Agency), the key to establishing industry leadership is internationalisation. Let’s see how in this exclusive interview that took place last weekend during the 51st edition of MIDO.

Thanks to its strong international vocation, the Italian eyewear sector (with 830 companies and 18,250 workers) performed excellently in the international markets in 2022. Would you like to comment on the strong export inclination that characterises the entire industry?

It is a key vocation: we find ourselves in a healthy sector, with lots of medium-small companies and some well-known “giants” at worldwide level. The data you just mentioned are important: just think, exports of optical/eyewear items represent 1% of Italy’s total exports, arriving at 100 billion euro.

In addition to the MIDO event on Friday 3 February, ICE organised (together with ANFAO) an event where 130 international buyers met 57 SMEs. Regarding the MIDO event, we brought a delegation of buyers from 40 countries. These figures are a mark of success as they highlight again the international nature of this event.

The communication campaign that we organised together with ANFAO also assisted in making MIDO international, with 50% of exhibitors arriving from abroad.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and, especially, the Ministry for Made-in-Italy Companies made great efforts to render our fairs a point of reference on a worldwide scale.

What is the added value of Made-in-Italy items in the eyewear industry?

Made-in-Italy items stand out for three aspects: design (our manufacturers’ ingenuity), quality, and the technological element of our products.

What is your opinion of the 2023 MIDO event?

I see a high level of internationalism, and this is itself a positive sign.
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