Pace of worldwide luxury goods sales to decelerate

Bloomberg and AP, Milan, Italy

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 - Page 15

Worldwide luxury sales for this year will grow at less than half last year’s pace and rise at a similar speed through 2015, according to Bain & Co.

Spending on luxury apparel, accessories, watches, jewelry, perfume and other personal items this year may climb 5 percent to 212 billion euros (US$273.8 billion), excluding currency swings, Bain said in a report yesterday. That compares with growth of 13 percent last year, the consultant estimated.

However, a weak euro will boost sales on a reported basis, lifting revenue 10 percent this year from 11 percent last year, Bain said.

“Concerns about market weakness are somewhat overblown,” said Claudia D’Arpizio, a Milan-based partner at Bain and lead author of the study. “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.”

The luxury goods market will grow by 4 to 6 percent annually between next year and 2015, excluding currency swings, Bain said.

Chinese shoppers were pushing personal luxury sales, according to the report.

Bain expects spending for the holidays to increase by 7 percent this year over last year.

However, the real boost is from Chinese consumers, who this year became the top luxury buyers responsible for 25 percent of global purchases. Europeans contributed 24 percent to global sales, Americans 20 percent and Japanese 14 percent, the report said.