Outside Forces Shaping Luxury Business

The high-end market is ­being shaped by larger trends in society. So said NPD Group director of retail client development Desiree Hanson and industry analyst Edahn Golan in a seminar titled “The Retail Revolution: Understanding Shifts in the Luxury Market,” held June 4 at JCK Las Vegas.

Hanson (pictured, top) said that consumers today increasingly favor experiences over products and like to rent rather than own.

We are also seeing increasing ambivalence about watches; 2016 marked the second year of decline in watch sales, NPD found. Of the 10 brands tracked by NPD, only Rolex showed growth.

Golan (pictured, left) said the market has become better for diamond brands. Branded gems last year made up 5.5 percent of the market, though last quarter their market share jumped to 8.7 percent. Branded ­diamonds also boast a higher gross margin and higher average price.

Also seeing an increase in market share: lab-grown diamonds. A few years ago, they composed only about 0.5 percent of the market. Now it’s 4 percent.

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