Luxury sales remain strong

17 October 2012

MILAN: Sales of luxury goods should continue to rise around the world this year, reaching a value of more than €200bn, according to new figures.

Bain & Company, the consultancy, forecast high-end personal lines like apparel, jewellery, watches, cosmetics and leather items would see demand improve by 10%, to €212bn, in 2012.

"Concerns about market weakness are somewhat overblown," said Claudia D'Arpizio, a Bain partner. "But we are seeing sharp disparities between brands that are not keeping up with the quickening pace of change in the market and those that are adjusting to shifts in tastes and demographics."

Two such trends are the surge in importance of ecommerce, growing by 25% per year, and off-price discount outlets, expanding by 30%. Together, these channels should contribute €20bn in 2012.

The rise of male buyers constitutes another major factor, as is an increased focus on accessories, the wider prevalence of luxury tourism, indicating the fact customers are becoming "even more global".

Looking ahead, the analysis predicted that total revenues would improve by between 4% and 6% a year in real terms from 2013 to 2015, taking it to a value of at least €240bn, and possibly €250bn.

Bain also took a broader view of the luxury sector. This included cars, a segment set to be worth €290bn as sales increase by 4%, as well as hotels, on €127bn as returns log an 18% rate of growth.

Wines and spirits, pegged to secure €51bn in revenues, similarly featured here, as did food, on €38bn, and home furnishings, due to post €18bn, alongside yachts on €7bn.

If combined with personal luxury items, the overall market reaches €750bn, a figure that Bain projected would near €1tr within the next five years.

At the regional level, Europe should yield €75bn in 2012, a 5% lift year on year. The Americas will see a 13% leap to €65bn, while Asia, excluding Japan, delivers an 18% uptick to €42bn.

In Japan, traditionally one of the foremost outlets for luxury items, the category will attain a value of €20bn, with the rest of the world witnessing a 5% expansion, to €10bn.

More specifically, Chinese shoppers were seen as a key growth driver. Mainland China is set to provide €15bn in luxury sales in 2012, hitting €27.3bn for Greater China, which includes Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

Data sourced from Bain & Company; additional content by Warc staff