The global personal luxury goods sector -- now seen as a nonessential industry in the COVID-19 era -- is expected to see its sales collapse as much as 60% in the second quarter as the raging pandemic continues to keep most of its rich patrons at home. China, however, is expected to rescue the industry from the doldrums by 2025.
Industry sales for all of 2020 is expected to range anywhere from $195 billion to $239 billion compared to $308 billion in 2019, estimates global consultancy Bain & Company, one of the world's "Big Three" elite management consultancies. Bain is also the world's leading advisor to the global luxury goods industry. The industry outlook is contained in the Bain & Company Luxury Study 2020 Spring Update.
Bain predicts a full-year 20% to 35% contraction for the personal luxury market. Global sales of personal luxury goods will plummet by about 50% to 60% in the three months ending June.
The global luxury goods industry includes cars, jets, fashion, cosmetics, fragrances, jewelry, and handbags. Its products are considered at the highest end of the market in terms of quality and price. Within the industry, the luxury car sector is the most valuable sector, bringing in $603 billion in 2019.
Personal luxury goods are the industry's second most lucrative sector. The United States is currently the largest regional market for luxury goods.
The personal luxury goods sector is expected to return to the 2019 sales level between 2022 and 2023. This rosy scenario, however, depends on consumer confidence levels, tourism, and brands' ability to anticipate and fulfill consumer needs.
Bain said Chinese consumers are predicted to lead the revival in luxury shopping. As a region, mainland China will account for 28% of the luxury market, up from 11% in 2019, said Bain. Chinese consumers remain the most important buyers of luxury in the world.
Most of China has already emerged from lockdown and the coronavirus outbreak on the mainland appears seems to be mostly under control.
"There will be a recovery for the luxury market but the industry will be profoundly transformed," said Claudia D'Arpizio, a partner at Bain and the main author of the report.
Bain said the personal luxury market is predicted to reach between $351 billion to $362 billion by 2025, in part due to the growth of Chinese luxury consumers. China is expected to account for nearly half of all luxury spending worldwide five years from now compared to 35% in 2019.
China "will continue to drive luxury market growth" and about 50% of those purchases are set to take place on the mainland, said the Bain report. The rest of Asia "will follow closely," driven by local consumption and intra-regional tourism.
Due to current global travel restrictions, Chinese customers are likely to make their purchases within China, said the report. Rich Chinese usually travel abroad to Paris, London and New York, among others, to buy their designer items and expensive luxury goods.
Bain noted best performing brands now see an increase in their year-to-date sales in China.
"Winning brands will be the ones that best interpret the zeitgeist all while remaining consistent with their inner DNA and individual story," said D'Arpizio.