Luxury goods, the leading creator of value in Europe

The luxury sector is an important pillar of industry and a real indicator of the economic health of France and the Old Continent. Despite frequent criticism, luxury is keeping up with the social and environmental issues of our time, to continue to be a source of growth.


A few weeks ago, the American magazine Forbes announced that the richest man and woman in the world were, for the first time in history, both French. They are Bernard Arnault, CEO of the world’s leading luxury group LVMH and Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, CEO of L’Oréal. Their combined fortunes amount to 291.5 billion euros.


This finding highlights the great prosperity of the luxury sector, which surpasses those of the automobile industry or high technology. In France, luxury companies have surpassed the market capitalization of historical companies such as Total or Renault.


According to figures from 2021, the luxury sector represents one million direct and indirect jobs in France. Fashion, leather goods and watches and jewelry account for 40% of jobs, followed by wines and spirits (17%), perfumes and cosmetics (17%) and gastronomy (15%). Tableware and design are also sectors that generate many jobs. In the Bresle Valley in Seine-Maritime, approximately 10,000 employees work in 70 companies that supply more than 70% of the world’s production of perfumes, spirits and cosmetics.


The sector contributes to the revitalization of the country’s industrial fabric, whether with the jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels, which plans to open two new production sites by 2026 (600 new jobs), or the House of Hermès, which has just opened two new workshops, one in the Ardennes, the other in Normandy, bringing to 11 the number of new leather factories on the territory since 2010 and 4700 leather craftsmen.


The cosmetics sector has more than 3,200 companies with important research and training structures, recognized worldwide. Over the past five years, the sector has created more than 3,500 jobs thanks to the opening of new sites. The perfume industry, notably Guerlain and Chanel, has opened five factories and created over 900 jobs.


Indicator of economic health


The luxury sector is considered an indicator of the health of the global economy. If the sector is in trouble, this can be a negative sign for the economy. If it is not, the reverse is not always true. In fact, luxury remains the sector least affected by economic inflation, thanks in part to the growing wealth of the middle class, particularly in China and India.


Luxury represents not only a symbol of financial success and belonging to a certain social class, but also embodies a certain conception of elegance and the European way of life. This cultural difference is illustrated by the importation of luxury goods into America, which are often of European origin.


In a world where technology is increasingly present, the luxury sector remains attached to human values such as invention, know-how, innovation and creativity, as well as to the search for excellence in the quality of the product and in the execution of the gesture. The sanctity of the product and its link with tradition and territory also play a fundamental role in this sector.


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Featured photo : © LVMH

The editorial team
The editorial team
Thanks to its extensive knowledge of these sectors, the Luxus + editorial team deciphers for its readers the main economic and technological stakes in fashion, watchmaking, jewelry, gastronomy, perfumes and cosmetics, hotels, and prestigious real estate.

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