The continued success of brands such as Burberry and Jimmy Choo will help the UK luxury sector to grow by 57% to £9.4bn by 2015, according to research from luxury trade body Walpole.
The UK Luxury Benchmark Survey, published in collaboration with research firm Ledbury Research, found that 91% of the luxury brands surveyed were confident of sales growth over 2011. The market is due to grow by 10% this year.
Tourism remains the key driver of that growth, with just over £1 in every four spent on UK luxury brands coming from visitors to the UK, particularly from America and China.
Meanwhile, overseas spend remains crucial to future growth of the UK luxury market. China is now a key focus for expansion with 41% of those brands surveyed already operating in the country and a further 34% planning to do so at some point this year.
The annual report also found that the attitude of the luxury consumer has changed since 2010 with so-called “luxury shame” now falling away, meaning the industry is becoming less reliant on selling via private parties compared to 2010.
James Lawson, director at Ledbury Research, which specialises in the luxury sector, said: “The confidence in the UK luxury industry is different from that seen at the peaks of 2007, which was associated with a more conspicuous consumption. Today’s luxury consumers are different; demand is more considered and refined and the leading British brands are well positioned to engage with this audience”
Guy Salter, deputy chairman and founder of Walpole’s Thought Leadership Unit, which commissioned the report, added: “We are Britain’s unknown growth industry and a great example of something this country is globally competitive at. It also a timely reminder of the ‘soft power’ benefits of luxury brands in attracting visitors and flying the flag with affluent consumers around the world.”
The UK Luxury Benchmark Survey looks at the performance and expectations of the industry as well as the issues facing luxury brands over the coming year. More than 80 senior luxury executives were surveyed.