A series of ongoing reports to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on lifestyle and luxury retail in Asia throughout 2020.
Market Insights works with 50 global brands across Asia, including select brands external and internal to the Bluebell Group, with the aim to promote greater sharing amongst retailers in the region. The study covers seven markets, and five product categories including fashion, accessories, footwear, beauty and fragrance and Gourmet F&B; with deep dives into Mainland China and South Korea Travel Retail.
Part 1, Jan-May 15, 2020
From January to 15 May 2020, the impact of COVID-19 on luxury & lifestyle retail has been staggered across Asia.
Mainland China was the first market to experience significant sales decrease YoY, and the first to rebound with positive YoY growth from April.
In large part due to severe travel restrictions, overall sales in Hong Kong SAR dipped in February and March, though to a different extent across product categories.
Taiwan, which saw fewer cases and no hard lockdown, experienced a smaller YoY dip that can be attributed to cautious consumption behaviour.
As of mid-May, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan were suffering the strongest YoY sales drops from the impact of ongoing lockdowns.
Part 2, May-June, 2020
After experiencing the highest YoY performance drop between March and April, all markets began recovering in May – with the exception of Mainland China, which began its recovery much earlier than the rest, and was already seeing positive signs of rebound in March.
In Hong Kong SAR, recovery was muted across categories, with footwear regaining the most ground on 2019 sales, although it was the most affected category in the months prior, so the numbers only represent a very slight rebound.
Following the easing of lockdowns, Japan saw a rapid YoY performance bounce back from May to June, though not yet reaching positive growth. Japanese consumers rushed back to brick-and-mortar stores once social distancing measures were eased.
Malaysia saw a more muted recovery, while Singapore still suffered from the largest YoY sales drop across categories in June, as its severe lockdown was only slowly being lifted.
Part 3, 2020 in review
Wrapping up 2020 in ’survival mode’ – Part 3 looks at how Asian markets, channels, product categories and travel retail fared. The main trends in channels were the growth of ‘phygital retail’, in products a preference on the ’self care’ category, a slow down in travel retail but also a boost in ‘local consumption’ and ‘local travel’, opening new duty free markets in China specifically.