Luxury Institute: Top-Tier Luxury Experts' Forecast for the Luxury Industry in 2021

​​​​In September 2020, Luxury Institute reached out to its database of Global Luxury Expert Network (GLEN) members, and a select group of C-level and executive top-tier luxury and premium brand leaders, to gain a front-line pulse of the current luxury environment, as well as 2021 projections for the top luxury categories globally, plus key reasons why. This super-elite professional group included several dozen luxury goods and services brand luminaries and global industry experts with decades of luxury expertise. Given the participants’ elite status in the industry, expertise, and ability to make decisions, their insights present a snap-shot of visibility into the current expectations of growth by category at the highest levels of the luxury goods and services industry. To respect the privacy of these participants, all names and organizations will remain completely confidential. Obviously, it is hard to predict how the pandemic and the economy will evolve. However, below are the percentage of experts who predict each category will be up, flat or down, and a summary of the key reasons why. 

The Haves: 

Health and Wellness:

2021 vs 2020: 96% say up, 2% flat, 2% down

Key Reasons: pandemic reframes priorities/ignites trend; shift to proactive/preventive medicine and wellness; home exercise; technology innovation; health is the new wealth; more boomer spending and guilt-free spending.

Consumer Technology:

2021 vs 2020: 90% say up, 8% flat, 2% down

Key Reasons: essential technology goes exponential; need at home/home office; rise in health and wellness; innovations drive upgrades; wearables; IOT; recession resilient. 

Wines and Spirits: 

2021 vs 2020: 74% say up, 19% flat, 7% down

Key Reasons: home isolation/stress relief; consumers upgrade at home; off-premise opens up; celebrate recovery; recession resilient.

Home Furnishings:

2021 vs 2020: 68% say up, 24% flat, 8% down

Key Reasons: home expansions/upgrades; focus on home/home office; personalizing spaces continues; follows real estate trend; lower recession risk. 

Perfumes and Cosmetics:

2021 vs 2020: 58% say up, 29% flat, 13% down

Key Reasons: mask usage eases with vaccine; online sales continue to grow; replenishment purchases; Asia rebound; global reopening; simple pleasures; recession resilient. 

Home Appliances: 

2021 vs 2020: 56% say up, 42% flat, 2% down

Key Reasons: home expansions/upgrades; technology innovation drive upgrades; more time at home cooking; need for new home office/improved office; home entertainment; vaccine tempers demand; lower recession risk.

Real Estate:

2021 vs 2020: 53% say up, 27% flat, 20% down

Key Reasons: urban flight; new zoom towns; low mortgage rates; low supply; repurposing of urban commercial real estate to residential; lower recession risk given low supply and low rates, but still at risk due to foreclosure and recession possibilities.

The Have Nots: 

Department Stores: 

2021 vs 2020: 46% say down, 36% flat, 18% up

Key Reasons: fear to shop in-store/preference to buy online; few tourists; lack of relevance; lack of uniqueness; poor customer experience; second wave; bankruptcies; vaccine needed; challenges remain long-term. 

The In-Betweens: 

Travel and Hospitality: 

2021 vs 2020: 42% say up, 34% down, 24% flat

Key Reasons: worst category hit by pandemic; travel bans; nowhere to go but up; potential second pandemic waves; lower business travel remains; slow recovery.


2021 vs 2020: 44% say flat, 36% up, 20% down

Key Reasons: less commuting and travel; less public transportation helps; used cars up; luxury upgrades; electric cars drive new demand; higher recession risk.

Fashion and Leather Goods: 

2021 vs 2020: 42% say flat, 41% up, 17% down

Key Reasons: fewer social occasions; shopping mall distribution hurts; consumers reevaluate needs and wants; casualwear leading; low travel and low tourism; purchasing for investment purposes; offset by improved socialization; improved digital skills; pent-up demand; more travel; only a few brands are winners; recession risk.

Watches and Jewelry: 

2021 vs 2020: 41% say flat, 37% up, 22% down

Key Reasons: Asia rebound; slow travel recovery; Apple watch effect; jewelry is much better off than watches; buying personalized items; few big winners; recession risk.

While no one can predict the exact trajectory of the pandemic and its short and long-term effects on the economy, history indicates that human resilience and ingenuity, propelled by the drive to not just survive, but to thrive, usually fuel recovery. Some categories have grown through sheer luck, some have been equally unlucky. History demonstrates that the wisdom of expert crowds has a more powerful predictive power than individual experts and forecasters. The Luxury Institute is grateful to its Global Luxury Expert members as well the high-level executives and luminaries at top-tier brands across the globe who contributed their insights.

About Luxury Institute and the Global Luxury Expert Network (GLEN)

Luxury Institute is the world's most trusted research, training, and elite business solutions partner for luxury and premium goods and services brands. With the largest global network of luxury executives and experts, Luxury Institute has the ability to provide its clients with high-performance, leading-edge solutions developed by the best, most successful minds in the industry.

Over the last 17 years, Luxury Institute has served over 1,100 luxury and premium goods and services brands. Luxury Institute has conducted more quantitative and qualitative research with affluent, wealthy and uber-wealthy consumers than any other entity. This knowledge has led to the development of its scientifically proven high-performance, emotional intelligence-based education system, Luxcelerate, that dramatically improves brand culture and financial performance.

To learn more about Luxury Institute, the Global Luxury Expert Network (GLEN), or to become an expert member, please visit Luxury Institute.

Contact: Milton Pedraza​,

Source: Luxury Institute

About Luxury Institute

Luxury Institute is the world's most trusted research, training, and elite business and personal data technology solutions partner for luxury and premium goods and services brands.

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