PARIS – The luxury sector is settling into a more subdued period where mid single-growth will be the “new normal.”

That’s the latest forecast from Bernstein Research, forecasting top-line growth of 5 percent in 2015 for personal luxury goods, and a similar pace through 2018.

Analysts Mario Ortelli, Piral Dadhania and Jordan Patel characterized 2014 as a “year of pressure” for the sector thanks to currency headwinds; weakness in China; softening tourist flows; poor consumer confidence in Europe; and political crises in Hong Kong, Russia and Thailand.

“We expect a 2015 better than 2014, due to the easing of (foreign exchange), clean comps which include the full impact of anti-corruption measures and reversal of wholesaler destocking,” they noted in a report published Tuesday.

Luxury growth, while inferior to the boom years of 2010 to 2012, is still poised to outpace global GDP, with jewelry, leather goods and accessories the standout categories.

Megabrands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada are expected to grow at a slower rate than the market, with “elitist” names such as Loro Piana and Hermès benefiting from “increasing sophistication by the core luxury consumer” and upcoming brands such as Saint Laurent, Givenchy and Celiné continuing to show momentum, according to Bernstein.

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