“Made in Italy is dead!” (Made in Country Index, Statista and Dalia Research, 2017)
“Long live Made in Italy!” (Global Powers of Luxury Goods, Deloitte 2017)
The resurgence has been sudden and decisive, at least in terms of the production of luxury goods. According to the latest research by Deloitte, reported by the Il Sole 24 Ore business publication, Italy is still the global leader when it comes to the production and sale of high-end products.
Italy’s position of leadership is not just down to the prestige of its fashion brands, but is also explained by the fact that several large international organisations have production operations in Italy, while production has remained in the country for Italian companies now under foreign ownership.
According to international consultancy firm Deloitte, Italy still sets the benchmark for the high fashion and luxury sectors.
Italy leads the way in terms of revenue, accounting for 25% of the sector’s 100 biggest global companies, and is also at the top of the tree when it comes to growth rates. Indeed, Italy have more luxury companies with a 2013-15 Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) in two figures than any other country in the world.
Among the fastest-growing companies identified by Deloitte are Italian names Marcolin (the surprise package in the eyewear sector with CAGR 43.1%), Valentino (CAGR 37.8%), Moncler (CAGR 23.1%) and Furla (CAGR 22.9%).
However, all of these positives are balanced out by a series of less encouraging factors that must be taken into account.
One such negative is without doubt the size of Italian companies. While it is true that 25% of the 100 best-performing luxury companies in the world are Italian, the country has just one representative in the top ten: the Luxottica Group.
Another is the turnover generated by Italian companies. Their average revenue is €1.2bn, while French companies register four times that on average.
So what does it all mean? In short, while Italian companies are performing well and have high potential, when it comes to size they are simply not competing with the world’s biggest luxury organisations such as LVMH, which took top spot in the list, Richemont and the Kering Group.
Despite their size-related restrictions, if they wish to grow, Italian companies must face up to the challenges looming over the luxury sector. The most pressing of these is to ensure they are using the right sales channels, particularly digital and travel retail, the latter of which boasts huge potential because it targets foreign consumers, transcends geographical borders and tackles the scant choice on offer in less-consolidated and developing countries.
The key markets are all to the East: Russia, China and the UAE are main targets, with all of them seeing increased spending in the luxury sector over the past five years. These countries will continue to drive sales of high-end products, fuelling the success of the entire industry.