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LVMH exports more luxury products than France does wine

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Louis Vuitton x Tyler the Creator Credits: Courtesy of Louis Vuitton

LVMH's global sales of handbags and perfumes exceeded the combined value of all wine and camembert cheese exported by France's agricultural sector, highlighting the luxury sector's importance to the country's trade balance.

A study by consultancy firm Asterès for LVMH, as reported by the Financial Times, revealed that the French luxury conglomerate accounted for 4 percent of all French exports last year, totaling 23.5 billion euros. LVMH already holds the largest market capitalisation in Europe, and the company's CEO, Bernard Arnault, is the world’s wealthiest person.

Consumer shift in shopping behaviour

The fact that LVMH's global sales surpassed France's agricultural exports underscores the shifting dynamics of the global economy and consumer preferences. It suggests a significant transformation in behaviour, with people increasingly aspiring to own luxury goods and high-end fashion, positioning the luxury sector as a critical component of France's GDP.

Although LVMH reported a 2 percent decline in its total sales during the first quarter of 2023, marking its lowest period since the surge in luxury sales during the early stages of the pandemic recovery, there is optimism regarding Chinese consumption. Before the pandemic, China accounted for one-third of luxury goods sales in 2019, and there is hope it will continue to drive growth both domestically and internationally.

But not everyone shared the positive sentiment. Sasja Beslik, Chief Investment Strategy Officer at SDG Impact Japan, commented on LinkedIn: “[The] fact that global sales of handbags and perfumes made by LVMH account for a larger share of France’s exports than all of the Camembert and wine produced by the country’s famed agricultural sector would make anyone sane wonder about the mental state of humanity.”