Mintel’s Luxury Goods Retailing – International, August 2015 includes Mintel’s proprietary global market size and forecast, as well as bringing together key operating statistics for leading luxury companies.

The report is concerned just with luxury products and not with other aspects of luxury, which fall outside our strict retail definition, such as cars, holidays and art.

The report also includes findings from Mintel’s exclusive consumer research carried out across seven major markets: the UK, the US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and China. This proprietary data provides valuable insights into attitudes and buying habits related to luxury goods in the major markets.

The report includes profiles of 16 leading luxury companies, spanning the categories that are the focus of this report: watches and jewellery, apparel and leather goods, and fragrance and cosmetics.


Report scope

Most people have an idea of what constitutes a luxury item, but it is actually very difficult to quantify it. But one can say that a luxury good is branded and it is the goods that are luxury, not the retailer. It is up to the retailer to merchandise the goods in a way that sets them off to their best advantage.

One key trend in recent years has been for luxury brands to take greater control of their own distribution through directly operated stores, though that is only really possible for the biggest brands.

In general, wholesaling and licensing is in decline.

Mintel market sizes

Since it is the brands that are luxury and not the retailer, Mintel has calculated the size of the market from the aggregated turnover of brands that we think are seen as luxury brands, adjusted where necessary to add a retail margin and the sales of smaller players.

Defining luxury goods

But the concept of luxury goods is still highly subjective. It is usually obvious where a product is luxury and equally obvious where it isn’t, but there is a grey area that is more subjective. Take the Swatch group, for example. Swatch itself is clearly mass market and, while they are more upmarket, we think that Longines and Tissot are too. But Omega is a luxury brand, and one of the more desirable as well. Or look at Net-a-porter, in which Richemont has just sold a controlling interest to Yoox. Some of the brands are most definitely luxury brands (eg those from the Kering and Prada stables), but others are not. J Crew is a US mass market brand.

“Luxury” goods are undoubtedly priced high, though that is often justified by a very high level of craftsmanship. They must have an element of exclusivity and be out of the reach of most mass market buyers certainly in terms of regular purchasing. However, defining the market can be difficult because perception of luxury can be highly subjective.

In our analysis there are three main categories of luxury goods to which we add a miscellaneous group of smaller products:

  • Fashion & leather goods

  • Fragrances & cosmetics

  • Jewellery & watches

  • Other – writing instruments, eyewear, furniture and other home goods and other miscellaneous items. It may also include a small element from hotels (eg Bulgari), spas and bars.

Food, beverages, tobacco, electronic/electrical goods, automobiles and services such as travel are all excluded.

Geographical breakdown

We provide a broad regional breakdown of our market size. This is based mainly on data published by the leading luxury groups themselves.

  • Europe

  • Americas

  • Asia-Pacific

  • Rest of the world (includes the Middle East and Africa).

We then further estimate national market sizes for the ten largest markets, which together account for around three-quarters of the global market.

Technical notes

Financial definitions

All sales figures and luxury goods market sizes are quoted excluding VAT, unless specifically stated otherwise. All consumer spending data is quoted including VAT, unless specifically stated otherwise.

Operating profit is trading profit after normal operating costs and depreciation, but before interest, goodwill amortisation and exceptional items.

Pre-tax profit is calculated after all costs, including exceptionals, interest, and non-cash charges such as amortisation, but before tax.

Note that there can be a number of reasons why tables do not sum exactly:

  • Rounding errors

  • Currency conversions if original data for different subsidiaries was in different currencies (companies sometimes provide information in local currencies)

  • VAT (sales tax) – if original data was provided gross (including sales tax), we have extracted VAT at the relevant rates for countries concerned and at the estimated appropriate rates depending on product categories sold.

Exchange rates

The euro and the US dollar are the main currencies used in this report and the average annual exchange rates used for the period 2008-12 are shown below. However, in some cases, average exchange rates will have been matched to company year-ends and not necessarily calendar year-ends in the company profiles.

Figure 1: US Dollar to Euro annual average exchange rates, 2009-13
2009 1.39
2010 1.33
2011 1.30
2012 1.29
2013 1.33
2014 1.33
Source: Foreign Exchange Data Provided By Oanda.Com – The Currency Site

Abbreviations and terminology

BRIC Brazil, Russia, India, China
CAGR Compound annual growth rate
CEO Chief executive officer
CFO Chief financial officer
COO Chief operating officer
e Mintel estimate
EBIT Earnings before interest and tax
EBITDA Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation
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