According to research from luxury trade body Walpole, the continued success of brands such as Burberry and Jimmy Choo will help the UK luxury sector to grow by 57% to £9.4bn by 2015.The UK Luxury Benchmark Survey looked at the performanceand expectations of the industry as well as the issues facing luxury brands over the coming year. More than 80 senior luxury executives were surveyed.
It was published in collaboration with research firm Ledbury Research, and found that 91% of the luxury brands surveyed were confident of sales growth over 2011. The market is due to grow by 10% this year.
Tourism remains the key driver of that growth, with just over £1 in every four spent on UK luxury brands coming from visitors to the UK, particularly from America and China.
Overseas spend is still crucial to future growth of the UK luxury market. China is now a key focus for expansion with 41% of those brands surveyed already operating in the country and a further 34% planning to do so at some point this year.
The attitude of the luxury consumer has changed since 2010. The so-called “luxury shame” is now falling away, meaning the industry is becoming less reliant on selling via private parties compared to 2010.
“The confidence in the UK luxury industry is different from that seen at the peaks of 2007, which was associated with a more conspicuous consumption. Today’s luxury consumers are different; demand is more considered and refined and the leading British brands are well positioned to engage with this audience,” said James Lawson, director at Ledbury Research.
As the last sample of trust lain on the luxe niche market, it is worthy to highlight that former Harrods owner and entrepreneur Mohamed al-Fayed is reported to be plotting a return to retail by acquiring online luxury business Cocosa. The online private luxury sales club, launched in 2008, has more than 400,000 members and is owned by magazine and radio group Bauer Media. It sells luxury fashion and accessories brands including Vivienne Westwood and Julien Macdonald, at discounted prices.