Textile care, a social service — The Research


The research by Cerved presented during the exhibition at Fiera Milano reveals a widespread presence of dry-cleaners and industrial laundries bonded by trends like technological investments, environmental protection and customized solutions*

Laundries and dry-cleaners, a constantly evolving world that offers fundamental services for families as well as for sectors like health care, tourism, food and restaurants, industry.

From the small laundry shops in the neighborhood that meet the requests of single households and families to the big, industrial ones that guarantee the supplies of clean linen to hospitals, restaurants and hotels: laundry and ironing services constitute an important business sector – 3.5 billion euro turnover that is expected to rise, especially as far as industrial laundries go – managed by professionals who work at their best thanks to more and more advanced and “green” technology.

A detailed analysis of these businesses has been presented at EXPOdetergo International 2018 by Cerved, the biggest Information Provider in Italy and one of the main rating agencies in Europe.


Whether it is a wedding dress, a particularly delicate garment, fine fabrics or maybe just a common shirt that no one likes to iron, a dry-cleaning shop is a place we cannot do without. An unmovable presence in every neighborhood both in big cities and small towns also in almost every shopping mall, the total number of dry-cleaning shops, dyeing shops, artisan drycleaners in Italy today comprises 12 to 14 thousand businesses, mainly spread in the north of the country.

Why do we go the dry-cleaner’s? We take our trousers there (59%) as the fabrics they are made of often need to be dry-cleaned, shirts (48%), both a blessing and a curse for every housewife, suits (38%), especially when they are made of fine and delicate fabrics.

From the left: Luca Mangili, Global Account and Carmine Iuliano, Marketing Solutions – Research, CX and Analytics at Cerved

We are talking about rather small structures with just one employee in most cases, founded before year 2000 (30% of cases) and with the number of machines present in the shop that equals to 2.4. Dry cleaning and wet cleaning are the main services offered by most businesses. Yet, today, the offer goes beyond: from the classic hand ironing of shirts to sanitizing and tailoring services as well as home delivery service (25% out of the total number of shops interviewed and 44% businesses with more than 3 employees).

The acquisition of new technology is just a base for businesses renovation in order to become more competitive. The fundamental part here turns out to be professional training: almost half of the interviewed businesses have participated in update training sessions organized by the manufacturers of laundry equipment. The phenomenon is more common for more structured businesses and among those founded between 2000 and 2009. Moreover, the 2/3 of the businesses believes it is useful or useful enough to participate in meetings and seminars organized by equipment, accessories and detergents manufacturers where a particular topic is discussed.

Innovation, widely spread as far as industrial laundries go, has still not “exploded” at dry-cleaning businesses: just a very small segment of dry-cleaners use innovative dry-cleaning techniques, alternative to PERC that at the same time seems to be more commonly used by businesses with more than 3 employees.

Industrial laundries

A laundry is not only a shop in the neighborhood that we all have in mind. Industrial laundries in Italy account for 1174 units and they generate 1622 million euro turnover. Some strategic sectors that contribute to the development of our economy relate to them, e.g. restaurants, tourism, public administration (schools, hospitals, canteens …). 40% of the businesses are spread over three regions: Lombardy (15,7%), Lazio (13,7%) and Campania (11,5%).

Sara Manfredini, Analyst Marketing Solutions – Cerved

The laundries do not only deal with linen washing but they often manage linen and flatwork rental (90.7% of businesses have chosen to invest in linen acquisition), workwear, mattresses and pillows as well as surgery sterilized sets. Every day, hundreds of bed sheets, tablecloths and work uniforms are treated, sanitized and delivered by these highly structured and automated businesses (59% of them are constituted by limited companies). They offer turnkey services that range from the withdrawal of soiled linen to the delivery of clean batches. The sector, according to Cerved, can find new opportunities for future growth thanks to diverse variants: a positive trend registered in the hospitality sector in Italy, the development of integrated services and a greater spread of textile in the health care sector together with a higher number of regulations in terms of safety, which favors the rental, treatment and re-conditioning of workwear. Certainly, the reduction of PA payment time would be useful. The PA payment time is still very long which, together with the expenditure cuts in the area of health care and the widespread use of disposable products, constitute main risks for the sector.





*It is possible to purchase the results of the research “industrial laundries” and “dry-cleaning businesses”. Please contact Expo Detergo offices: Ph. +39 02 39314120 e-mail: expo@expodetergo.com