Rebound in European luxury goods spend, says Bain

Tourism in Spain and the UK will lead a rebound in European luxury spending this year, while Chinese domestic consumption also increases, consultants Bain & Co said, raising its forecast for global growth in 2017.

Sales of items such as designer handbags and fine jewellery will rise 2% to 4% to as much as €259 billion, Bain said. The consultancy had predicted growth of 1% to 2% in December, and the forecasts exclude currency swings.

High-end labels like Burberry and Prada found it hard to keep up momentum in 2016 amid flagging consumption in China and a terror-related downturn in European tourism. Since then, the outlook has become rosier for market leaders like LVMH and Gucci-owner Kering. While sales will grow faster than expected overall in 2017, performance between brands will become more polarised, Claudia D’Arpizio, the study’s lead author, said.

“Consumers are asking for more innovation and more creativity,” she said. “We are seeing a bigger gap between winners and losers, driven by the ability of brands to understand the way the consumers are changing.”

Christian Dior, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Kering-owned Brioni were among those that changed designers or chief executive officers during the past year as slower growth prompted luxury companies to rethink their strategies.

Brands across the sector have increased investment in e-commerce and reinforced their offer at entry-level price points in an effort to hook younger consumers. Through 2020, sales of personal luxury goods will grow 3% to 4% per year at constant exchange, Bain said in the study, which it publishes twice a year in partnership with the Italian luxury lobby Altagamma.

In Europe, recovering tourist flows and increased consumer confidence will drive growth 7% to 9% at constant exchange for the region’s luxury market in 2017. Sales will grow 6% to 8% in mainland China, Bain forecast. In the Americas, struggling department stores in the US — the world’s largest luxury market — and slumping tourism are expected to curb luxury sales, which are expected to decline as much as 2%.



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