Spain’s luxury market expected to grow

10 Jan 2019

shoppingSpain has forecast a growth in its luxury market, despite current sales lagging behind its European counterparts.

El País reports that in 2017, Italy’s luxury sector brought in €29 billion in sales and France brought in €27 billion while Spain garnered sales of €9.2 billion – However, experts predict that by 2025, Spain’s sales in the luxury sector will rise to €20 billion as a result of the country’s success in the tourism, gastronomy and fashion sectors, as well as the development of specific products for high-end consumers.

Carlos Falcó, president of the luxury brand association Círculo Fortuny and head of Eccia (which is an alliance of five national European luxury goods and creative industries organizations), said: “There is a big gap between Spain and the leaders in Europe, but it is closing quickly. While they are growing at a rate of less than 5%, we are getting close to two digits.”

Yet Falcó has noted that 2018 has not been as successful as hoped, which has a lot to do with currency fluctuations and Chinese customers – who are responsible for a third of global sales – choosing to make more purchases in their country as opposed to overseas, as a result of a great drop in luxury taxes in China. Nonetheless, Falcó has confidence in the Spanish luxury market’s potential.

José María Folache, managing director of Tous, which is a Spanish jewellery maker forming part of the global luxury market, said: “We are optimistic for 2019. The sector is still doing well. Christmas has been better than expected despite a boycott against Catalan products that meant a few months of losses in Spain. Now we have two or three years of 5% to 10% growth ahead of us.”

However, the luxury market is changing – and adapting to such changes will be the only way Spain can boost its sales. Folache points out Spain’s slow adaptation to online sales, as well as the impact the millennial generation has today.

Millennials’ demand for luxury stems less from a want for extravagant pieces, but more for personalised purchases and affordable inclusions. This is why items such as luxury sneakers have gained popularity in recent times, or why high-end designers are increasingly opting to introduce casual-inspired fashion collections, such as sports lines.

Asians have undoubtedly dominated the luxury market, without whom its success would not be prolonged. Asian buyers make up 70% of sales in areas such as Madrid’s Castellana business area. However, there are less brand options available for Asians' main area of interest in the luxury sector – being watches and jewellery. This sector is far more vibrant in France or Italy; however, Spain’s success lies in its fashion, perfume and hospitality sectors.

As sales in the Spanish luxury sector are expected to increase, so will the introduction of more high-end brands in the country. It is also worth noting that Spain benefits from its location and exports more than the majority of its competitors, and even though certain hurdles will have to be faced – such as the US-China trade war and Brexit – it has been proven that the luxury market is more resilient to economic changes than most sectors.