Welcome to the Reuters Global Luxury Summit 2009
The luxury goods industry has been hit hard by the downturn as consumers, worried about job security and the health of their economy, shied away from indulging in upmarket shopping.
Most-seriously hit products have been big-ticket items such as Swiss watches, followed by jewelery and fashion apparel. Leather goods such as handbags and shoes have proven more resilient.
Many analysts forecast global luxury sales to drop as much as 10 percent in 2009. In light of the recent green shoots of recovery, some believe the rate of decline could slow down in the coming months and the market could stabilise.
One of biggest questions for luxury investors today is whether demand from emerging markets such as China and Latin America will be sufficient to compensate for weak sales in more mature and saturated regions such as Western Europe, Japan and the United States.
Many also wonder if the industry will ever return to its historical growth levels or if it will remain at lower levels for the years to come. Perhaps we have entered an era of austerity and self-restraint which will hold back consumers from spending on luxury items.
Reuters’ first Luxury Goods Summit, which is being held in Paris, London, Tokyo, Dubai and New York on June 8-10, will ask these questions to some of the industry’s leading executives. It will also ask them what they think is the best recipe for the crisis, which projects they are putting on hold and how they see the future.