Major luxury brands resist industry downturn

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Passers-by in front of a Chanel boutique in Beijing (China), March 28, 2023. STRINGER / ANADOLU VIA AFP

Chanel is still in the lead. The group revealed, Tuesday May 21, global sales of 15.6 billion euros in 2023, “at a record level”up 14.6% compared to 2022. Despite the weight of its activity in China – Asia provides it with nearly 59% of its global sales – the manufacturer of the Timeless handbag and the N° perfume 5 has managed to escape the difficulties experienced by some of its competitors since the end of 2023: its sales increased by 17.7% in Asia-Pacific.

Read also | Article reserved for our subscribers The cosmetics industry, a good student of foreign trade, is fighting for its market share in China

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Second luxury brand in the world behind Louis Vuitton, a subsidiary of the French LVMH, Chanel assures that in 2024 it will continue to “increase your investments” to promote its brand. Last year, the group chaired by Leena Nair invested 2.2 billion euros in advertising and marketing operations with its clients. That is 20% more than in 2022. In all major capitals, such as in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, the brand is broadcasting spectacular 3D films celebrating its perfumes, watches and handbags. , highly profitable product lines.

The group owned by the Wertheimer family, the largest fortune in Switzerland, is not the only one to continue to grow. To everyone’s surprise, Richemont, owner of the Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels brands, also revealed a 2023 financial year ” record ” Friday May 17. Owned by South African billionaire Johann Rupert, chairman of the board of directors, the Swiss group achieved a turnover of 20.62 billion euros for its financial year ended at the end of March, an increase of 3%.

“Bubble deflating”?

But, despite these satisfactory results, leaders of the luxury industry can no longer deny its obvious slowdown. “The two engines of the luxury market, the United States and China, are no longer operating at full speed”observes Joëlle de Montgolfier, vice-president responsible for the distribution, luxury and consumer products sector at Bain. “The context is more difficult”, agreed Philippe Blondiaux, financial director of Chanel, in a press release. Chanel sales increased by only 2.4% in 2023 across the Atlantic. However, the American market is still the primary outlet for luxury brands.

In China, the succession of confinements imposed by Beijing on the population to fight against the spread of the coronavirus in the country, between 2020 and 2023, is still a “raw scar”, estimated Mr. Rupert in Geneva, during a conference reserved for financial analysts, Friday May 17. So much so that the return to good fortune of this market, Eldorado of European brands until 2020, will be ” long “predicts the leader. “The shopping centers are very quiet. Attendance slows down », also agreed Jonathan Akeroyd, CEO of Burberry, Wednesday May 15, during the publication of the annual results of the British luxury brand. During the first quarter of 2024, Burberry sales plunged 19% in the country.

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