Luxury brands should target smaller markets

15 June 2010

SINGAPORE: Luxury brand owners should consider heightening their focus on a number of smaller markets in Asia Pacific and the Middle East, a new report has suggested.

According to estimates from the Boston Consulting Group, wealth levels across the globe are set to grow by an annual rate of nearly 6% over the period from 2009 to 2014.

This will outpace the improvement of 4.8% a year experienced between 2004 and 2009 and build on the "remarkable comeback" of last year, which generated an expansion of 11.5% to $111.5tr (€91tr; £75tr).

"There's no doubt that wealth will continue to grow faster in emerging markets, fuelled by strong economic growth," Tjun Tang, a partner at BCG, said.

"We expect Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan, to grow at nearly twice the global rate, raising its share of global wealth from 15% in 2009 to almost 20% in 2014."

Despite its positive forecast, BCG warned companies should not expect to see a return to "business as usual", as a range of fundamental shifts have transformed the trading climate.

For example, the 11.2 million people boasting millionaire status last year made up less than 1% of all households worldwide but owned 38% of wealth, up from 36% in 2008.

Similarly, households with a value of at least $5m contributed just 0.1% of the overall total but were responsible for around 21% of wealth, or $23tr, up by 2% year-on-year.

The US contained 4.7 million homes with a net worth of at least $1m, and was followed by Japan, China, the UK and Germany on this measure.

Singapore, however, saw the largest growth in this area, having posted an uptick of 35%, followed by Malaysia on 33%, Slovakia on 32% and China on 31%.

Elsewhere, Singapore also had the greatest density of millionaire households, with this cohort making up 11.4% of the national population, a figure that stood at 8.8% in Hong Kong and 8.4% in Switzerland.

Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates also registered impressive scores on this measure, with the US some way further back on 4.1%.

Last year, North America recorded a 15% uptick in wealth to $35.1tr in all, although this remained below the amount recorded two years previously.

Europe generated a total $37.1tr and surpassed the performance it recorded before the onset of the crisis in the process.

Asia Pacific – excluding Japan, which has suffered particularly heavily in the financial crisis – posted an increase of 22%, or $3.1tr, while Latin America was up by 16%.

Data sourced from Boston Consulting Group; additional content by Warc staff