The focus of the luxury industry is shifting back to China. The hope is that its high-end spenders will once again splurge on designer goods as China relaxes Covid curbs after three years.
The hit from lockdowns and China’s subsequent exit from a zero-Covid policy spurred a surge of infections in the world’s second-largest economy. Luxury spending by Chinese nationals had dipped from 33 per cent of the global personal luxury goods market in 2019 to as little as 17 per cent in 2022. The Covid-related disruptions in China took a toll on LVMH and Europe's other luxury goods companies.
China is forecast to become the luxury industry’s biggest market by 2025. The luxury sector is among the largest expected winners from China’s loosening of restrictions that kept shoppers out of stores for months. Although the Chinese are expected to initially resume travelling within Asia, Europe is a region that particularly stands to benefit from a return of Chinese tourists. Chinese shoppers are expected to return to Europe in a noticeable way at the end of the second quarter or during the second half of this year. But Chinese buyers, a staple at fashion shows before the pandemic hit, still haven't returned in droves.