Mar 27, 2023
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Luxury activity exploded in 2022, pop-ups were key - report

Mar 27, 2023

Luxurynsight has released its annual Global Luxury Brand Analysis report and found an unsurprising double-digit rise in overall activity across fashion and leather goods, perfume and cosmetics and watches and jewellery as the world became more ‘normal’ in 2022 compared to a still-pandemic-hit 2021.

Dior at Harrods - Reuters

The report said the number of ‘activations’ from the 59 brands that it tracks rose 10%. That means activity — divided into Product (new/revamped products and launches), Communications (such as campaigns, events, shows and digital innovation), and Retail (including new stores or entering new markets) — numbered 6,124 last year.

Fashion/leathergoods accounted for almost half of this at 49% and was up 2 points. Watches rose by the same amount to 22% but beauty dipped 4 points to 29%.

And it was interesting that while fashion product and communication activations both dipped last year, retail was up 5 points as pop-up activity gathered pace. By contrast, retail dipped for the other two categories, but communication rose 7 points for beauty and 1 point for watches.

Luxurynsight looked at a selection of the biggest brands in the business including, among others, Balenciaga, Dior, Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Saint Laurent and Valentino for fashion; Benefit, Estée Lauder, Fenty, MAC and Sisley for beauty; and Cartier, Hublot, Omega, Rolex and Tiffany for watches/jewellery.

Photo prise le 16 novembre 2022 / Reuters / Lisi Niesner

It also identified key trends, including the rise of Web3; the growth of the Middle East as a focus for luxury (given China’s ongoing Covid issues and the cost-of-living crisis in Europe and the US); the rise of K-Pop’s importance as its stars become must-have brand ambassadors; and the importance of experiential events both to brands and their customers.


As far as activations were concerned last year, Q3 was the busiest quarter with 27% of the total. Q1 saw only 22%, followed by 26% in Q2 and 25% in Q4. That lower activity in the first quarter could be explained by the overhang of Covid with activity ramping up later in the year as the normalisation trend became more pronounced.

Looking at fashion specifically, there were 2,990 activations last year and even though China still had strict Covid regulations in some areas, 594 of them took place there.

Globally, there was a notable increase in the number of new products (accounting for 16% of all product activations), collaborations and limited editions (both 12%). It's also particularly interesting that limited editions accounted for 48% of product activity in China, and were on the rise.

Burberry's China-focused Year of the Rabbit campaign - Burberry

In the communication area globally, while digital innovation dropped (no shock there, given that digital had been a much bigger focus during the pandemic), campaigns were up and accounted for 27% of activity, while events also rose to make up 22%.

In retail, pop-up store numbers rose and accounted for 68% of activity, while new permanent stores were down, although still made up 28% of activity. There was a flurry of post-pandemic opening activity in 2021, so a drop makes sense for 2022. And there was also an experimental/experiential mindset — plus a lot of uncertainty last year — so the large number of pop-ups can be easily explained.

For beauty, there were 1,810 activations with 612 of them happening in China. Limited editions were the big news, accounting for 34% of activity by volume and rising compared to 2021. There was a noticeable decline in digital activity with in-person events rising, as well as a falling number of new permanent stores, but more new pop-ups. 

And the number of limited editions and pop-up stores were disproportionately high in China as brands focused heavily on that key market.

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