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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