In an elaborate update on the impact of COVID-19 on the global luxury industry, Bain & Company details how the luxury goods industry, has witnessed its sharpest drop in decades, estimated to reach recovery by 2022-2023.
Changing dynamics, such as little to no travel or tourism, changing spending patterns and beliefs and enduring restrictions are shaping the luxury industry of the future, which Bain believes is resilient enough to transform and redefine its purpose to remain relevant, especially towards new, young consumers.
A few key takeaways:
Bloomberg reports that in a response to France's plans to start taxing US-based tech companies, which were the result of failed EU-US negotations a month ago when the US representative walked out, the US is now planning to impose a 25% tax on luxury (especially handbags) and beauty products imported from France. The total value of the goods listed by the US Trade Representative's website, Bloomberg reports, amounts to roughly 1.3 billion US$.
Daniel Langer, consultant for some of the world's leading luxury brands, in an article in Jing Daily says that despite our intuition - people spend and will spend less on luxury in and after a crisis - the luxury segment is more resilient than others.
In their latest report Bain & C° takes a deeper look into the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the luxury segment. A few key take-aways;
While the rest of the world is tightening measures to control the COVID-19 outbreak, Chinese customers - constituting a whopping third of global luxury industry’s sales and the driving force of global growth in this segment in recent years - are slowly returning to the country’s luxury shopping malls as local quarantine measures are eased.
Hong Kong's retail sales of jewelry and luxury items limped to the end an abysmal 2019, with December 2019 sales falling nearly 37% short of December 2018 earnings, as the region closed the year more than 22% lower than the year prior. The impact of months of social unrest has been widely documented, as it crippled consumer sentiment and kept tourists away from the commercial hub.
The global personal luxury goods market grew by 6% in 2018, reaching €260 billion (more than $290 billion) in 2018, with similar growth forecasted for 2019, reports leading consultancy Bain & Co. in its “Bain Luxury Goods Worldwide Market Study, Spring 2019”. The strong growth, equivalent to that in 2017, was driven primarily by the acceleration in domestic spending of mainland Chinese consumers and an increase in European tourism. Bain & Co.
Leading jewelry industry magazine JCK held two jewelry design competitions at this year's Las Vegas show: the annual Luxury Design Awards and JCK Design Center Editor’s Choice Awards (click "Read the full article" to see the designs).
According to a new report from consultancy Bain & Co., after stalling in 2016, revenues from personal luxury goods are set to rise 6 percent in 2017 to 262 billion euros ($308 billion), thanks to thriving demand from Chinese and Millennial shoppers, writes Reuters. Earlier projections were for a growth rate of 2 to 4 percent, but as Bain opens its summary statement, "Luxury is back in fashion.
"Of all of the ways to adorn yourself, what has nature created that has lasting beauty like a rock?" said Antoinette Matlins. "As soon as you cut a flower, it wilts. A sunset is beautiful but you can't capture or wear it. There's is something so special and everlasting about nature's creation of minerals and rocks."
Luxury houses such as Cartier, Piaget and Chanel have launched collections on Net-a-Porter and are doing well, despite critics of the format. Cartier made a relatively risky move by placing Panthère de Cartier, a white gold diamond watch retailing for US$77,000 (HK$600,000) on the online platform Net-a-Porter. Within two weeks of the collection’s launch, the watch was sold. Of course some ‘purists’ believe that luxury products must be felt to create an emotional engagement, which is hard to replicate online.
Debra LaBudde launched Memo, an ecommerce site that specializes in fine jewelry. The name of the brand refers to the consignment practices within the jewelry and diamond industry, wich served as the inspiration for her concept. LaBudde noticed there was an untapped market for fine jewelry, “(I saw) an interesting opportunity in the marketplace that, in my mind, hasn’t been well served, and that ultimately could create a larger market.”
Everlane’s founder, Michael Preysman, who sells classic designs over the internet by promising “radical transparency”, believes he has identified the issues Millennials have regarding provenance and price. He pledges low-cost, high-quality goods made in factories used by designer brands, thus making them more appealing to their consumers. Everlane has a studio in Soho, New York, where shoppers are encouraged to try on the products and then return home and purchase their goods online, an inventive way of combining retail and ecommerce.
Richemont, the second largest luxury goods company in the world, released its consolidated results for the financial year that ended 31 March 2017. Jewelry sales for the group - including Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels - were up 7% to $4.55 billion, a growth considered rare for this section of the group’s portfolio. The report suggests the rise was partially offset by a weak watch division as watch sales dropped by 15% to $4.75 billion.
The French luxury group Kering reported a strong first quarter, with group revenue rising by 31% y-o-y basis to $3.89 billion. Sales from its luxury activities for the same period totaled $2.63 billion, up by a steep 34%. The sales growth in the group’s directly operated store network increased significantly to 36.6%, as a direct result of the remarkable performance in Western Europe and the Asia Pacific area, which reported sales increases of 49.9% and 46.7% respectively.
Necklaces with detachable pendants that double as brooches, tiaras fit for royalty that can also be worn as bracelets, and earrings which can transform into haircombs are making their way back this season. High Jewelry brands such as Chaumet, Van Cleef & Arples, Cartier, Bulgari and Graff have re-embraced the notion of transformable jewelry. The versatile trend is“perfectly adapted to our times,” says Jean-Marc Mansvelt, CEO of Chaumet.
With 850 million active users monthly, western luxury brands have been quick to embrace China’s “most important platform for luxury brands”, WeChat. Local and international brands have realised the potential of the platform to make them key players in China’s $103 billion jewelry market. Western companies have used it for flash sales as well as marketing and customer interaction. While these flash events have spurred sales, China’s online sales remain limited, says Antoine Pin, managing director of Bulgari in greater China.
Christie’s upcoming auction of Magnificent Jewels will take place on May 17 at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues. Consisting of approximately 250 exceptional jewels, it will include a thematic section comprising 30 exceptional pieces from Italian makers, important gem stones, coloured diamonds and signed jewels.
Retail sales in Hong Kong across all categories resigtered an 0.9% drop in value terms and a 1.4% fall in volume terms year-on-year, according to statistics released last week by the HK government.
Canadian jeweler and diamond industry analyst Mel Moss explores a core dilemma concerning the value proposition of diamonds. It is a dlemma the diamond industry has yet to resolve, leading to confusion and false expectations among consumers: how can a diamond be presented both as a luxury product and a price-based commodity? "Some in the diamond industry are pushing hard to promote generic diamonds as a commodity that can be traded transparently in futures markets, commodity exchanges and as a wealth preservation asset", writes Moss.
Sustainability has entered the mainstream in a signficant way, with young companies often making it a prime selling-point while well-known retailers, consumer products giants, and tech firms cater to consumers who increasingly care about sustainability.
Chinese shoppers are generally estimated to make approximately 30% of the world’s luxury purchases, and according to De Beers "Diamond Insight Report", Mainland Chinese demand for diamond jewelry doubled from a 7% global share in 2008 to 14% in 2015, making it the second largest consumer of diamond jewelry. Bain & Company estimated their share of the global luxury market decreased by one percentage point in 2016, due mainly to China’s economic growth slowdown, thriving deman
On November 14, Richemont announced they would cut 210 jobs, this following the announcement from Chairman Johann Rupert, who abolished the CEO position in the company’s biggest management shakeup since 2009.
Apple has not yet officially launched the iPhone 7 yet, but luxury retailer Brikk is already offering preorders for some incredibly blinged-out new iPhones. Brikk's custom Lux iPhone 7 options include large diamonds, small diamonds, yellow gold, pink gold or platinum in various combinations. Buyers can also choose from 120 different scratch-resistant colors. Prices range from $4,995 to $1.3 million.
Comparing the current mentality of the diamond industry - in particular the midstream manufacturers - to that of mass production in the textile industry, Ehud Arye Laniado argues that the way to restore dwindling profitability is by restoring the luxury aspect of diamonds, and not by slashing labor costs, seeking favorable tax regimes and free trade zones. "How is it possible that an industry that manufactures luxury products is operating as though it provides low cost, price-point driven items?
Upscale jeweler Tiffany & Co. is gathering famous faces in a campaign using the tagline 'Some style is legendary'. Included in the campaign are Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o, actress Elle Fanning, model/activist Christy Turlington-Burns and model Natalie Westling. The campaign is being directed by Grace Coddington, the former creative director, and now creative director-at-large, of Vogue magazine.
Diamond rings have received a welcome boost, particularly among millennials, with global coverage of the engagement ring received by Pippa Middleton whose sister is married to the future king of the United Kingdom. Middleton was photographed wearing the ring estimated to have cost around £200,000 ($260,000) with jewelry experts describing the piece as “quite Art Deco in style” and with a central stone that is “upwards of three carats” with excellent color and clarity.
Rio Tinto reports it has sold the Perth Mint’s Kimberley Treasure, the world’s first coin to feature a rare red diamond from its Argyle Diamond Mine in the east Kimberley region of Western Australia. The million dollar coin is made from one kilogram of 99.99% fine gold and set with a radiant cut 0.54 carat Argyle red diamond and sold within 48 hours of its unveiling.
The buyer of the coin is Tiara Gems and Jewellery, a Dubai based company specializing in rare and important fancy color diamonds, unique collectibles and heirloom pieces of jewelry.
As if a 2.08-carat Fancy Vivid Blue diamond set in an 18K rose-gold-plated platinum ring was not enough on its own, the World of Diamonds company is marketing an 8-hour air, land and sea dinner journey starting with a 45-minute private helicopter tour over Singapore followed by a chauffeured Rolls-Royce drive and a private luxury cruise. Guests then enjoy an 18-course meal using diamond-studded chopsticks. The $2 million price tag is for one couple and includes 10,000 fresh roses, 44 and 55-year-old vintage wines.
Luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. is aiming to boost sales of wristwatches due to a slowdown in the jewelry market. Tiffany-made watches could account for 10 percent of the company’s sales within a decade, according to Nicola Andreatta, head of the firm's timepiece business, from just 1 percent last year. If it succeeds in hitting that target, it would likely make Tiffany one of the world’s top 10 watch brands, he told Bloomberg.
Luxury end diamonds are taking a hit from lower demand globally, with Graff Diamonds reporting a drop in sales and profits last year as tougher market conditions in the worldwide gem industry hit the high-end jeweler. Revenue plunged 32 percent to $500 million, while profit dropped 74 percent to $32 million in 2015, Graff Diamonds said in a filing to the UK’s Companies House, a registrar for businesses, Rapaport reported. Revenue from countries outside the U.K., where the company is based, dropped 34 percent to $464.1 million, while U.K. sales rose 11 percent to $36.1 million.
Giant global luxury firm Richemont, which owns Cartier and Montblanc among its other subsidiaries, gives a comprehensive picture of the state of the luxury market with its results for the fiscal year ending March 31. The company's results were impacted by the power of the Swiss franc, a crackdown on corruption in China, overstocking by dealers, and the low pace of economic growth around the world as well as geopolitical uncertainty. Richemont’s sales rose 6% to €11.1 billion, while net profit was €2.23 billion, below the €2.39 billion analysts had been expecting.
Swiss jeweler De Grisogono SA has acquired the rights to market a 404-carat rough diamond which it bought from Dubai trader Nemesis International DMCC. The giant diamond was discovered by Lucapa Diamond Co at its Lulo mine in Angola. Nickolas Polak, a director of Nemesis International, declined to disclose the price for which the stone had been sold, but in February Lucapa said it sold the 404-carat diamond for $22.5 million, Bloomberg reported.
When it comes to buying luxury goods, including diamond jewelry, Chinese shoppers prefer to buy abroad rather than at home for simple reasons: they are cheaper overseas and the likelihood of them being just a good imitation is close to zero. But Premier Xi Jinping’s government wants to create a consumer-driven economy, with shoppers buying at home. To achieve this aim, writes Avi Krawitz in Rapaport, the administration raised taxes on jewelry and watches bought from online overseas websites. Meanwhile, such items bought at home come with sharp tariffs attached.
Diamond industry analyst Edahn Golan draws back the veil of rhetoric concerning synthetic and natural diamonds to reveal what has been missing from the debate thus far: hard numbers.
Diamond industry analyst Ehud Laniado takes an in-depth look at why diamonds are not fulfilling their economic 'promise' as a luxury investment that will appreciate in value. Comparing the performance of diamonds to other luxury items bought out of 'passion', he determines that the lack of marketing is hurting diamonds' potential to be perceived as an asset rather than just an expense. But he has a plan.
The luxury goods market should pick up in 2017, aided by resurgent demand in the United States and China, after hitting a low this year, according to business consultancy Bain & Co. The approximate $285 billion luxury industry is likely to see sales growth this year of around 1% at constant exchange rates compared with 1.5% in 2015. "I think this year could be a low point for the industry," Claudia d'Arpizio, a Bain partner and lead author of studies on the luxury sector, told Reuters on the fringes of the New York Times International luxury conference in Versailles, outside Paris.
Luxury products group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton posted an increase in revenue on the year before of 4% to 8.6 billion euros for the first quarter 2016. "The U.S. market is strong and Europe remains well oriented except for France which is affected by a fall in tourism," the firm said in a statement. "Asian markets are varied, but Japan continues to progress." The company's Watches & Jewelry unit recorded organic revenue growth of 7% in the first quarter of 2016, outperforming the market, it reported.
China is raising charges on packages ordered from abroad and cracking down on smugglers who carry in suitcases full of luxury goods, in a move to encourage shopping at home and diminish a grey market that shoppers use to avoid tax, according to a Reuters report. Whereas Chinese shoppers account for a third of global sales of luxury goods, sales that actually take place in mainland China account for only a fifth.
Diamond industry analyst Ehud Arye Laniado reflects on uncertainties and lingering questions about the direction the diamond trade is taking in the wake of BaselWorld, and wonders whether it is even appropriate to sell loose diamonds at such a high-luxury show? We have selected a few choice comments: "Business [in the diamond section] was not good. This luxury-oriented show is not a good fit for small goods or even 1-2 carat items.