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Big spenders make leaders of Britain’s luxury brands confident of strong growth

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The UK Luxury Benchmark Study, which surveyed the luxury sector’s senior professionals including C-suite execs and business owners, was conducted by wealth intelligence firm Wealth-X and luxury brand alliance Walpole.

Some 75 per cent believe that full-year luxury sales will rise on 2014 and 56 per cent said they have increased the workforce since that time.

The study found that growth is being stimulated largely by the US, which has now overtaken China as the fastest-growing source of tourist spending in the UK.

To that end, the government has been urged to simplify visa policies for Chinese visitors, which is dubbed the biggest barrier for international custom, otherwise the spend and economy overall will suffer.

Unsurprisingly, London is still the the country’s luxury hub as brands continue to invest in the capital, while it’s also a key destination for tourists.

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However, wealth creation in the North of England and government investments will allow brands to expand operations, according to the report. In particular, it was Manchester as the strongest growing city outside of London, as chosen by 34 per cent of execs.

“We are encouraged by the findings of the latest UK Luxury Benchmark Study, with further growth (almost unanimously) expected for the UK luxury sector,” said Michelle Emmerson, CEO of Walpole.

“Walpole is committed to supporting the next generation of craftsmen in the industry, and so it is heartening to learn that this is of significant importance to luxury brands in the UK, as well as a focus on design excellence and authenticity.”

Read more on the UK’s luxury sector:

In January, Walpole revealed the 12 rising enterprises it will support as part of its Brands of Tomorrow campaign, which provides mentoring and guidance for emerging luxury brands. Currently, the luxury market is worth £32bn to the economy and that’s set to hit £51.5bn by 2019.

The UK Luxury Benchmark Study also revealed the average respondent spends 20 per cent of marketing budgets on digital. Explaining why online marketing is so important, 74 per cent noted its ability to bring in new customers, 56 per cent said brand awareness and 41 per cent said powering ecommerce.

Madelaine Ollivier, senior luxury analyst, Wealth-X, added: “We see the UK and moreover London retaining its status as the ‘go-to’ luxury hub for the world’s wealthy.

“London remains one of the world’s most established luxury cities and its luxury infrastructure continues to make it an exciting and dynamic place to be for both brands and consumers.”

She pointed to the country’s central location and attractive business environment as appealing factors for a variety of nationalities.

If you have an appetite for the finer things in life, luxury hospitality and leisure firm Belmond has recruited a handful of celebrity chefs to produce exclusive dinners on board its premium vintage train, the British Pullman, throughout 2016.

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