* Luxury sales growth down to 5 pct in 2012 from 13 pct in
* China starting to slow, Europe hit by debt crisis - Bain
* Chinese consumers now world's No. 1 luxury goods buyers
By Astrid Wendlandt
PARIS, Oct 15 Sales growth in the global luxury
market will slow this year to 5 percent from 13 percent in 2011
at constant exchange rates as Chinese customers rein in their
spending and concerns about the global economy take their toll,
a study has found.
A closely watched report published on Monday by consultancy
Bain & Co together with Italian luxury goods trade body
Altagamma said the first signs of a deceleration began to appear
in 2012 in China, the luxury industry's main engine of growth.
A change in government in China and a crackdown on
corruption have dented luxury spending by its consumers, the
This year, the Chinese luxury goods market is set to rise by
8 percent at constant currencies and 20 percent at current
currencies to reach 15 billion euros ($19 billion), while last
year it gained 30 percent using both measures, the report said.
Chinese consumers, many of whom shop abroad, have become the
world's No. 1 buyers of luxury goods, ahead of the Japanese, the
Americans and the Europeans, the study found.
Chinese consumers now make up half of luxury purchasers in
Asia and nearly one-third in Europe.
Tourists overall represent 40 percent of total luxury sales
and in some countries, such as France, they make up 60 percent.
The country has become a top destination for Chinese tourists
after simpler visa rules were introduced.
Europe has been hit by the euro zone debt crisis and luxury
spending growth will approximately halve in 2012 from last year
to 5 percent, with Italy and Spain suffering the biggest slumps,
the report said.
However, the Americas region is projected to post strong
gains, with revenue rising 13 percent by year's end.
At current exchange rates, the report predicts that global
sales growth in the luxury market will slow this year to 10
percent from 11 percent in 2011 but it forecasts a strong fourth
"Concerns about market weakness are somewhat overblown,"
said Claudia D'Arpizio, a Bain partner in Milan and lead author
of the study. "But we are seeing sharp disparities between
brands that are not keeping up with the quickening pace of
change in the market and those that are adjusting to shifts in
tastes and demographics."
Bain estimates that the luxury goods market will grow at
constant exchange rates by 4 percent to 6 percent a year between
2013 and 2015, bringing the market to over 250 billion euros.
More details about the state of the global luxury sector
will be published later on Monday when LVMH, the
world's biggest luxury group and owner of brands Louis Vuitton,
Celine and Kenzo, releases its third-quarter sales figures after
($1 = 0.7712 euros)
(Reporting by Astrid Wendlandt; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)