The luxury retail market has been through turbulent times in recent years, suffering badly from the global recession in 2009 but after an initial setback, seems to be making a steady recovery.
A bastion of the fine goods industry is France, and its reputation for the best produce in fashion, fine jewellery and fragrance among others continues to reinforce its place as a champion of high-end retail.
However, with the luxury sector expanding rapidly, and the diversification of both brands and consumers from across the world continues to grow, will France still continue to dominate this area in the future?
Why is the luxury industry so successful in France?
When analysing French retail strategy, strong management is key across all areas of business – and this rings especially true in the luxury sector, as organisations operating in this sphere continue to put staff, and in turn, the customer, at the centre of all essential decisions and procedures. This combination of democracy and luxury with a focus on the people is an interesting mix, but one that is proving increasingly profitable for corporations throughout the country.
This personal approach is also evident in the products themselves. Louis Vuitton stores (part of the market leader LVMH group) offers patrons a full service to create a customised handbag designed and crafted in Paris that is unique to the individual.
While the ‘Made in France’ label still means exceptional craftsmanship, companies are having to widen the range and appeal of their goods to an increasingly international customer base, with differing requirements. An example of this is the increase in tourism worldwide from China, particularly from a progressively wealthier customer base with considerable spending power who may be likely to purchase French fine goods.
However, France exports a significant amount of its produce globally, meaning that more and more customers can get a taste of ‘la vie en rose’ wherever they are in the world.
Yet with recent data from the French government showing tourist visitor figures reached 83 million up until October 2013, and many of them likely drawn to the country for its formidable luxury goods, it seems France won’t be backing out of the luxury retail race any time soon.