LONDON — Qatar is the world’s fastest-growing luxury market, according to the annual Global Luxury Hotspots report by Ledbury Research, the market research agency that focuses on wealthy consumers worldwide.
This story first appeared in the November 19, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The report will be released on Tuesday.
“Having just hosted the latest World Luxury Expo, Qatar has been impossible to ignore in the global luxury scene,” said Nicola Ko, senior luxury analyst at Ledbury.
Although luxury awareness is high in the Arab state, the luxury market in Qatar was only 0.2 percent of the global market in 2012 because its citizens mostly shop outside the country, the report said.
“Qataris are actually the biggest buyers of goods in the Middle East. But they often shop in Dubai; the Dubai-Doha air journey is currently the seventh most popular international route in the world.
“The Mall of Qatar is currently being built, however, and with infrastructure to be improved in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup, the luxury industry has significantly more potential to grow in the country,” Ko said.
The country has 57,000 millionaires and 4,000 deca-millionaires, or people with fortunes worth more than $10 million. The population of Qatar is 2.05 million.
Ledbury’s hot spots report focuses on what it calls “fast-growing, frontier markets where the potential is high for the luxury industry.” The firm releases the report in the fourth quarter of every year, and last year’s hot spot was Thailand.
The hot spots are selected on the basis of gross domestic product growth, the amount of business and first-class travel in and out of the country, the growth of luxury stores and the increase in local stock market valuations over the past year. This year, Ledbury said it put a GDP cap on the countries in a bid to filter out markets that have potential to grow, but are too small geographically to become true luxury players.
In Ledbury’s latest report, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia were the number two and number three hot spots behind Qatar.
In its report, Ledbury said Africa is another luxury hot spot to watch, and that “luxury opportunities” are expanding southward from the more traditional, European-influenced markets of Morocco and Egypt.
Nigeria ranks sixth in the list of Global Luxury Hotspots. With 32,000 millionaires who frequently travel abroad to shop due to the limited selection of brands at home, the sub-Saharan country is “desperate” for international luxury brands, Ledbury said.
“Nigeria is a frontier market, and male consumers there are hugely aspirational — at this stage, demand for luxury is mostly to signify status. As a result, we’ve seen Nigeria amongst the largest export markets for Champagne and cognac in the world,” said Ko.