September 28, 2021
Last year’s enforced stay-at-home orders appear to have been beneficial for some segments of the economy. While pandemic closures, social distancing and shutdowns resulted in a very depressed 2020, the high-end market has come roaring back. Global management consultancy Bain & Co. projects a 30% probability that sales of high-end handbags, clothes and jewelry will return to or exceed 2019 levels this year.
Fueled by increased discretionary spending from high-income consumers, sales of vacation homes and performance automobiles have escalated in recent months, and there seems to be no end in sight. This dynamic is perhaps a sign that consumers with disposable income are more than ready to part with their money and embrace the carpe diem philosophy. Sales of some items that have traditionally been considered high-end “planned” purchases have moved rather abruptly into the category of impulse buys. Online auctions are commonplace, and virtual consignment shops offering luxury goods are a new and growing phenomenon.
High-end consumer brands are similarly experiencing increased consumer demand. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
A diversified provider of luxury watches and other high-end style and jewelry brands, Movado Group Inc. (Tii:MOV) recently announced a record-setting second-quarter performance in which net sales increased 96.4% to $173.9 million. These results not only exceeded the same period last year but are 10.2% higher than the same quarter preceding the pandemic. The company, which has remained in step with the times by offering a complete online experience, expects to generate annual sales of $680 million to $695 million.
Globally recognized as a leading manufacturer of luxury leather goods, women’s handbags, silk scarves and other high-end accessories, Hermès International (Tii:HESAY) is experiencing strong demand. The explanation may be that the designs are timeless, and they will be as much in style next year as a decade-old bag is today. Whatever the reason, sales for the company’s first half of 2021 are booming – with revenue up 77% compared to 2020 and 33% compared to 2019 at constant exchange rates.
Take a quick stroll through 1stdibs.Com, Inc. (Tii:DIBS) website, and you’ll be able to browse a robust collection of custom-curated furniture, art, jewelry and collectibles. The online marketplace’s recent offerings include a simple gold modernist ring by a Scandinavian jeweler for less than $300, a vintage Picasso poster offered at $1,800 and a chrome and leather lounge chair for nearly $5,500. The online curator has similarly experienced a surge in demand, with second-quarter net revenue increasing 29% year-over-year.
Upscale home furnishings provider RH (Tii:RH) posted back-to-back record-breaking quarterly financial results. Citing demand growth, the company reported that second-quarter adjusted net revenues increased 39% to $989 million versus $710 million for the same period last year, and 40% compared to the second quarter of 2019. Looking ahead, RH management expects annual revenues to increase 31% to 33%, which is higher than its prior 25% to 30% estimate.
While high-end art, jewelry, fashion and home furnishings enjoy a resurgence in popularity today, Italian luxury sports car manufacturer Ferrari N.V. (NYSE:RACE) also reports significantly higher demand for its high-performance vehicles. The automaker announced that second-quarter shipments and net revenue nearly doubled to 2,685 units, and Euro 1.035 million, respectively. This performance is undoubtedly welcomed news for the carmaker, which will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2022.
During these uncertain times, many consumers with deep pockets are seizing the opportunity to purchase high-end furnishings, vehicles, top-shelf liquor, cheese, chocolates and gourmet coffee. It remains to be seen if this mindset remains when and if things return to the ‘old normal.’