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Bain, Altagamma Forecast Rapid Luxury Rebound

A long lines of customers outside the Gucci story on Chengdu International Finance Square, an internationally recognised urban complex in the Western Chinese city of Chengdu
A long lines of customers outside the Gucci story on Chengdu International Finance Square. Getty Images. (Barcroft Media)

Luxury sales could return to 2019 levels as soon as this year after contracting for the first time in more than a decade in 2020, consultancy Bain and Italian luxury industry association Altagamma said in their closely watched industry forecast published Monday.

While the outlook for this year remains uncertain, in a bullish scenario, a surprisingly exuberant recovery in the first quarter is sustained. That could help the market reach, and even exceed, 2019 levels with a valuation of between €280 to €295 billion ($340 billion to $358 billion), the report said.

More likely though, the strong momentum at the start of this year will be tempered by limited travel and slower domestic luxury purchases, postponing a full recovery until next year, it added. That leaves the luxury market with a value of between €250 to €265 billion in 2021, according to the report’s projections.

The report identified a number of key trends driving the market: China’s appetite for luxury remains “insatiable,” but there are signs of recovery across all consumer nationalities; the US in particular seems poised for a “roaring ’20s” that could reshape the luxury landscape. Meanwhile Europe is lagging other markets.

Online sales also remain robust, with Bain estimating more than 85 percent of luxury purchases were digitally influenced this year. And there are opportunities in new markets, too. The luxury second-hand market grew to €28 billion last year from €26 billion in 2019, according to Bain.

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