LONDON, United Kingdom — Full price sales of luxury goods have dropped dramatically year-on-year, according to a study conducted by real-time analytics firm Edited in the wake of the UK's shocking Brexit vote two weeks ago. The result of the referendum — which roiled global financial markets and sent the value of the British pound plummeting — is thought to have added to the existing woes of luxury retailers already suffering from a fall in tourists visiting Europe, a sales slowdown in Hong Kong and weaker demand in China, putting further pressure on full priced sales.
Comparing online sales of full priced luxury goods from June 24 to July 3 this year with those that occurred during the same period a year earlier, the study found the number of items that sold out at full price fell by a whopping 48 percent.
Full price “sell outs” at major European mega-brands, in particular, fell sharply, according to the study, with Louis Vuitton suffering a steep decline of 73 percent. Full price sell outs of Kering-owned brand Bottega Veneta fell by 81 percent, while Saint Laurent fell by 68 percent and Balenciaga fell by 55 percent.
“There’s no doubt that we’ve seen a wider downturn in the market overall,” said Edited co-founder Julia Fowler, who believes the Brexit vote played a large part in the decline. “We’ve seen that when people don’t know what is coming next, it seriously impacts how they spend. What made the case for us here, was what we saw when we compared the rate of global luxury sell outs 10 days before the Brexit vote to the 10 days directly after,” she added. “Over that time, we observed a global decrease of 60 percent. That’s a big indicator that the outcome of the vote was behind a significant portion of the downturn.”
Some British retailers have benefitted from the pound’s record lows, as foreign tourists looking to grab a bargain have rushed to buy products from brands like Burberry, as well as online luxury retailers like Matchesfashion.com whose items now cost considerably less in dollars and euros. Burberry saw a 50 percent rise in sales of its full-priced “sell-out” items online, during the period of June 24 to June 30 compared with the same period last year. Matchesfashion.com also increased its full-priced ‘sell out’ items online by 90 percent in the same period noted above.
Accessories were the most sought-after, accounting for 60 percent of “sell outs,” followed by tops, outerwear and footwear.
Editor's Note: On 7 July 2016, Yves Saint Laurent disputed the accuracy of the data reported in the Edited study cited in this article, though it declined to provided specific figures.