As the holiday season approaches, global sales of luxury goods are poised for a nuanced trajectory, with Bain & Company forecasting a restrained growth outlook in the fourth quarter. The resurgence of tourist flows, particularly to Europe, is identified as a pivotal factor influencing high-end spending, given a cautious stance among local shoppers after three years of robust post-pandemic growth.

Bain partner Federica Levato emphasized the correlation between luxury spending and tourist activity, stating, «It will really be linked to tourist flows,» and highlighting the subdued spending trend among local shoppers. Despite initial concerns following geopolitical events, current travel situations appear «normal,» with no significant disruptions expected.

Bain’s biannual report suggests a plateau in global sales of personal luxury goods (including clothing, accessories, and beauty products) in Q4, projecting flat growth compared to the previous year. The third quarter witnessed a 3% decline at current exchange rates. Looking ahead to 2024, Bain’s probable scenario anticipates a 1% to 4% rise at constant exchange rates, with a more optimistic range extending up to 7%. The return of tourist flows is anticipated to outpace local demand.

This year’s personal luxury goods sales are set to grow by 8% at constant exchange rates, reaching €362 billion ($387 billion). The recovery is attributed to normalized spending levels in the United States and Europe after a surge over the past three years. Chinese consumers, a key driver of growth in Asia, are expected to fully return to Europe by the end of next year, already spending at 40% of 2019 levels.

Focusing on consumer preferences, Levato highlighted a penchant for high-end jewelry as investment pieces, along with increased interest in fragrances and makeup, with leading brands experiencing heightened demand. Stay tuned for a nuanced luxury spending landscape in the coming months.

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