Although sales are slowing in the long-booming Asian luxury market, it probably won’t surprise bag lovers to hear that Hermès continues to increase its sales and meet the expectations of industry-watching analysts. It also probably won’t surprise you to hear why; Bloomberg credits the brand’s strength with the Birkin’s perpetual scarcity.

Hermès’s total sales climbed 15% in the third quarter of 2015, raking in $1.2 billion for the Paris-based brand. When you adjust for currency fluctuations, that’s 7.9%, which Bloomberg reports as right on target with analysts’ forecast of 8%. Sales in Japan in particular were up a whopping 17%, which Bloomberg attributes to the yen’s weak position against the yuan, spurring spending from Chinese tourists shopping abroad. Hermès sales also grew 2% in the Americas in the same period.

The luxury sector is having a tough time overall in Asia, partly because of anti-extravagance regulations curtailing the market in China, but Hermès has something other brands don’t (and can’t) have: the Birkin. The bags are, of course, legendarily difficult to purchase, and the scarcity of its most famous product gives Hermès a status and exclusivity that’s unrivaled in the luxury market. When dealing with wealthy consumers who have plenty of options when it comes to spending their money, that counts for a lot.

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Denise

    “…tough time overall in Asia, anti-extravagance regulations”


  • Lori

    It’s odd to me they attribute the success to the Birkin and it’s “perpetual scarcity” when there are literally thousands of used Birkin’s for sale on Ebay alone. And when you add in other after market sites, I would say 10’s of thousands (granted a portion of them are fakes), but still. Anyone with cash can get a Birkin within a few days. So what is the real reason? I don’t think it’s the Birkin…

    • Sara

      I agree. If I really wanted one, I can get a real one tomorrow online. Sure it will be second hand but so what.

    • Jerri R

      Not to mention that all the celebs seem to have em.

    • So easy to buy one online. one of the pre owned luxury websites I browse recently started a payment plan system. If someone really wanted a Birkin, they can choose to pay around $900 a month for 10 months; no need to have all the money at once.

  • Anne

    Here’s a different opinion: Hermes Signal US Slowdown on Heels of Asian Slump (source: Business of Fashion)

  • Sara

    I was in Japan recently and almost every second female (young & old and some men too) were carrying the Hermes Evelyne III 29 in array of colours and sizes. In Disneyland alone I spotted about 10 of them. Did not see a single Birkin or Kelly, not even in Ginza or Mitsukoshi!

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  • klynneann

    It’s not sales of Birkins that is pushing Hermes’ numbers up – it’s sales of everything else you have to buy in order to be able to purchase a Birkin.

    • Sara

      I thought this was a myth.

      • klynneann

        I think the idea that there’s a wait list is a myth. But it seems that many of the SAs will “encourage” you to make other purchases before they’ll come up with a Birkin or Kelly for you to purchase. That’s not to say you couldn’t get lucky and just walk in and score a bag without any prior purchases, but I think that’s mostly luck, and perhaps the current state of the global economy.

      • Sara

        Well, that would just irritate the heck out of me thus reducing my chances of being “offered” a Birkin lol

      • klynneann

        Seriously – I hear ya!

  • Hermes pour moi

    I know that there are zillions of Birkins for sale online, and I bought one from a web site because it was very unusual and another from a Christies auction, but the one I bought from the boutique is the one I carry every day, especially because I didn’t have to jump through hoops to get it! I think many bag lovers feel there’s something special about bringing home a Birkin in a big orange box from the boutique.

  • barclaybear

    Yes, even new, authentic Birkins are available on eBay if one is willing to pay the exhorbitant price – often twice retail. But the boutiques still play their games, limiting how many Birkins and Kellys one may buy in a year (but this does not appear to apply to celebrities or big buyers who are known resellers). And yes, there are boutiques who play the “you need to buy RTW or SLG’s before one will be offered, often in a size/color/leather that is not what is wanted, but some silly woman will buy for fear that if she declines she will never again be offered one. There are a lot of silly women out there with way too much money and few brains. And yes, I DO own Hermes, but not a Birkin – not my style.