The Luxury Industry Is Heading Toward a Slowdown in 2023: Report

This year was a pretty good one for the luxury industry. And while next year is set to see growth in the sector, it will likely be at a slower pace.

In 2022, sales of high-end goods grew 15 percent on a constant currency basis, according to analysts at Citi and Bain cited in the Financial Times. That was due in part to relaxations in Covid rules and people eagerly spending the savings they had accrued over the past couple years. But with various factors affecting the global economy—including the war in Ukraine and the threat of a recession in the United States and Europe—2023 is likely to see just a 6 to 8 percent increase in luxe purchases.

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And that growth partly hinges on China’s success in reopening. Just this week, the country decided to ease a number of Covid restrictions, which caused luxury stocks to jump. That move also impacted luxury sales forecasts, with next year’s potential growth now sitting slightly higher than an earlier estimate of just 3 to 5 percent.

Along with the reentry of Chinese consumers into the luxury market, a few other trends bode well for the sector. While more aspirational luxury shoppers are perhaps cutting back their spending, the wealthiest 2 percent of global consumers continue to spend their money, making up about 40 percent of luxury spending, according to the FT. These shoppers will continue to be targeted by brands, with Balenciaga already opening a store in Paris for its top buyers and Chanel planning to do the same in Asia next year.

Across the globe, people are also returning to traveling, socializing and working in an office—all of which might require an updated wardrobe. Or, for younger consumers, a whole new closet suited for these sorts of activities. Companies are likely to start focusing on a younger and younger cohort, with Gen Alpha making some of their first luxury purchases when they’re as young as 13 years old.

However, unless part of the ultra-wealthy, some shoppers might be turned off by the increased prices the luxury world is seeing. Over the past two years, some items have gone up by 20 percent or more, and that’s only expected to continue into 2023. A Citi luxury analyst told the FT that prices in Europe could increase 15 percent, while those in the US and China could go up the mid-single digits.

But, in the long run, the future for the high-end industry is still bright: From now to 2030, sales are expected to increase by a whopping 60 percent. With a forecast like that, one slow year certainly isn’t the end of the world.

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