Perfect storm closes in on luxury goods sector

When pro-democracy demonstrators took to the streets of Hong Kong in September, the luxury industry was challenged by another tumultuous event in a year it would rather forget. The Chinese government’s 18-month-old clampdown on lavish gift-giving by officials in mainland China was already taking its toll. Then in March, the outlook for the industry was mired in further uncertainty, provoked by Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the problems in Ukraine, which resulted in political fallout with Europe and the US. The situation in Hong Kong – a third unforeseen calamity, this time taking place in the world’s biggest market for Swiss watches – provoked Luca Solca, a luxury analyst at Exane BNP Paribas, to declare this month: “There seems to be a perfect storm closing in on the luxury goods sector.” The unrest in Hong Kong is particularly worrying. The territory accounts for about 20 per cent of global sales of Swiss watches, according to Jon Cox, an analyst at Kepler … Show more

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