LONDON — The U.K. luxury sector is set to grow 12 percent this year to 7.4 billion pounds, or $11.51 billion, and will post double-digit growth annually for the next five years, according to the fourth annual Walpole Ledbury Luxury Benchmark Report.
The report, which is based on interviews with 78 senior luxury executives in sectors ranging from fashion and accessories to watches and jewelry to hospitality, said that brands remain “optimistic” about the outlook, and they have every reason to: The sector is set to double in size over the next five years to 12.2 billion pounds, or $18.98 billion, in 2017.
Some 83 percent of luxury brands said they are expecting to see a rise in sales in 2013, according to the study by Walpole, the not-for-profit organization that represents British luxury companies, and Ledbury, a market research firm specializing in the luxury sector.
The study added that tourists remain “crucial” to the British luxury industry, with 64 percent of respondents targeting this group specifically through various initiatives such as foreign payment methods, and hiring foreign speaking staff.
While Americans remain the most important nationality of luxury visitors to the U.K., the Chinese are considered the fastest growing group of luxury shoppers to the U.K.
“The findings from this year’s study provide an insightful look at the changing landscape of the U.K. luxury industry and the key priorities and challenges facing senior luxury executives in the coming year,” said Julia Carrick, Walpole’s chief executive.
“Despite the backdrop of the euro zone crisis and a difficult economic environment, the U.K. luxury industry remains extremely robust and is forecast to grow significantly,” she added.
The report said that key potential growth regions for U.K. luxury brands include the BRIC economies, Brazil, India, Russia and China. With the Olympics and World Cup coming up, 52 percent of brands have plans to enter the Brazilian market.
Outside of the BRIC economies, South Korea, Mexico, Indonesia, and Vietnam were seen to be the most important target markets for U.K. luxury brands.
The report said that, looking ahead, the two most important challenges facing British luxury businesses in 2013 are “maintaining product quality, and reaching the next generation of consumers.” The report said that 98 percent of the brands surveyed believe that reaching the next generation will be a challenge to some degree.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast