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China still on track to overtake Japan as world’s second luxury market

The new data by Euromonitor indicates that it’s clearly a case of swings and roundabouts for the global luxury goods industry. Despite Asia’s slowing growth on the back of China’s repositioning, Japan’s luxury market is witnessing a long-awaited revival thanks to its favourable exchange rates, while income inequality is beefing up spending by the higher-income segments in smaller Southeast Asian and Sub-Saharan African countries.

Luxury sales in China increased by a real US$9.6 billion in the five years to 2014. Aside from the US, which, at number one, increased by US$18 billion, no other market came even close to that growth. However, this impressive growth fizzled out towards the end of the review period, leading many luxury brands to question their strategy for China and other emerging markets.

The emerging economies overall are going through a painful structural readjustment and, as a result, the emerging middle class – a key engine of growth for the luxury goods industry over the last decade – is losing some of its appeal. Inevitably, there will be downside implications for global luxury goods brands.

Sales in China’s luxury goods market will see it drop from third to fourth place in our global rankings for 2014 and our forecasts for China have also been revised down following a weak year of slowing economic growth teamed with the government clampdown on conspicuous consumption and luxury-gifting.

Euromonitor’s findings expect real growth to come in at 4% in 2014, with a more positive outlook of 6% for 2015. The good news for China is that the stronger external environment is supporting Chinese exports. This has already been seen in the rebound in industrial production, with real GDP growth slightly higher than expected.

While China’s rebalancing continues at a gradual pace, luxury consumption has remained strong and there are still plenty of opportunities for growth – supported by a strong labor market and income growth. We expect luxury expenditure to increase by 52% in real terms in the five years to 2019, driven by real gains in disposable income of 64% during the same time period.

5 Key Trends In Luxury Goods

U.S. remains the largest luxury goods market in the World valued at US$78 billion in 2014 – luxury spending in the U.S. is over double that of second place Japan.

India remains the fastest growing market in the world having increased its real market value by a real 92% in the last 5 years

China drops from 3rd to 4th place in the global rankings as a result if China’s slowing economic growth and the Chinese government clampdown on extravagant consumption and luxury-gifting

Designer apparel takes the lions shares of all luxury sales in 2014 but luxury accessories and luxury jewellery and timepieces were the most dynamic categories growing by a real 43% and 25% in the 5 years to 2014

The outlook for the luxury goods industry is optimistic with forecast sales set to reach US$405 billion by 2019

adapted from Euromonitor

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