* Luxury market expected to be “healthy” in medium-term - Bain
* Growth in 2013 to beat 2012 in real terms, currencies weigh
* Americas biggest market as growth rate slows in China
MILAN, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Luxury goods sales this year are expected to outpace 2012 in real terms with the Americas overtaking China as the leading growth engine, Bain & Co said in a study on Monday.
The consultancy, whose forecasts are closely followed by the industry, said worldwide sales of personal luxury goods would rise 6 percent at constant exchange rates in 2013, higher than the 4-5 percent it had forecast in May and the 5 percent rise seen in 2012.
The growth rate would be only 2 percent at current exchange rates, mainly due to the impact of the devaluation of the Japanese yen.
The worldwide market in luxury clothing, watches, perfumes, cosmetics, jewellery, and accessories such as belts, ties and shoes, is set to be worth 217 billion euros ($299.33 billion) in 2013, Bain said.
With 4 percent sales growth forecast in 2013, the Americas are beating a slowing mainland Chinese domestic market even though Chinese consumers worldwide represent 29 percent of luxury consumers in 2013 - the single biggest group of buyers - as they shop more abroad, Bain said.
The Chinese market will grow just 2.5 percent at current exchange rates in 2013, down from 20 percent growth last year, Bain said, as it becomes a “mature market”.
Cities in the western United States such as Las Vegas and Los Angeles are seeing more Chinese tourists and Americans are spending more both domestically and abroad.
Conversely, Japanese shoppers are less likely to shop abroad due to the impact of so-called “Abenomics”, the economic policy named after the Japanese premier which precipitated a roughly 20 percent drop in the value of the yen.
The yen’s move has driven over half the differential between real and nominal growth across the industry, Bain said, and a question mark remains over the Japanese luxury market due to the strong impact of currency fluctuations.
Countries like Malaysia and Indonesia are now the main growth driver in Asia, Bain said, with sales seen up 11 percent on the year after growing at a 20 percent rate in 2012.
“South East Asia is the great cradle of growth,” said Bain’s Claudia d‘Arpizio as she presented the study in Milan.