The global leather goods market, particularly the luxury segment, has faced significant challenges due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, notably due to reduced tourist numbers in France, which fell by more than 50% in 2020. Despite this, the demand for high-end leather accessories, valued for both function and aesthetics, and the booming fashion industry, have maintained a degree of buoyancy in the market. French manufacturers have shown resilience, with a consistent growth in revenues reaching €3.47 billion. The market has seen growing concerns regarding sustainable fashion and environmental impacts, with regulations in place to control chemical usage and promote health and safety. Counterfeiting remains a significant issue for the leather goods industry.

Sales of luxury leather goods in France are mainly concentrated around three major players—LVMH, Hermes International, and Kering—dominating the market with strong brand recognition bolstered by the Made-in-France label. Digital sales channels are also gaining momentum, with internet sales accounting for 12.3% of total sales.

The market is characterized by a heavy reliance on subcontracting, with some luxury brands outsourcing a significant portion of their production. The industry follows stringent regulations in the EU aimed at consumer protection and environmental practices, with specific standards for labeling and production enforced by the decree of November 23, 2017, and subsequent legislations.

Evolving dynamics in the French leather goods market amidst global shifts and domestic flourishing

The French leather goods market, renowned for its fine craftsmanship and luxury segment, has traditionally catered to a robust international demand, with an especially strong affinity in the Asia-Pacific region. This market encompasses a range of high-end products including leather bags, wallets, and belts which, combined with France’s historical reputation for luxury, continues to draw in consumers both domestically and internationally. In recent years preceding the COVID-19 pandemic, France witnessed a significant upsurge in demand within its borders.

Factors such as burgeoning tourism, contributing to sales growth, and a favorable economic climate for consumers acted as catalysts. Notably, Asia has demonstrated a marked appetite for leather goods, with sales in the Asia Pacific making up over 40% of the global market share. Despite the global downturn caused by the pandemic, the French market for luxury leather goods has shown resilience pre-crisis.

Exports showed positive momentum, with a notable yearly growth rate of nearly 8%. In the same vein, regions like Hong Kong and Singapore have been substantial importers of French luxury leather goods, contributing significantly to the export figures, which stood at more than €7 billion.

The trends towards sustainability and ethical consumerism have begun to reshape the market dynamics. A substantial proportion of the French population now considers a brand's commitment to sustainable practices as a crucial factor in their purchasing decisions. Consequently, this shift is pushing brands to reconsider their manufacturing processes and product lines, integrating more eco-friendly and non-animal-derived materials. Despite these challenges, the 'Made in France' label continues to bolster the reputation of French leather goods beyond the confines of the luxury sector. It is perceived, especially in comparison to global counterparts, as a byword for quality, with France ranking second globally for its recognized craftsmanship in luxury brands.

All in all, the French leather goods market remains an influential player on the global stage, armed with a strong brand image and an evolving product mix in response to shifting consumer values, though not immune to the pressures of a post-pandemic economic recovery and the push for greater sustainability.

Dominant trio in the French luxury leather goods market: LVMH, Hermès International, and Kering

Within the illustrious realm of the French luxury leather goods market, three iconic names rise above the rest, shaping the industry with their prestigious brands, unparalleled craftsmanship, and global recognition. These vanguards of vogue are none other than LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Hermès International, and Kering – a trinity of opulence that commands the attention and admiration of the fashion world.

  • LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, often simply referred to as LVMH, stands as a colossal force, with an array of esteemed brands under its luxury umbrella. The crown jewel of its collection, Louis Vuitton, is synonymous with high fashion and is acclaimed for its exquisite handbags and luggage pieces that merge tradition with innovation. Louis Vuitton's influence is complemented by other LVMH-owned entities in the leather goods arena, including Céline, Christian Dior, and Loewe. The conglomeration's strategic acquisitions and an extensive portfolio of luxury brands have solidified its position as a dominant player in the sector.

  • Hermès International, with its singular eponymous brand, has earned renown for its understated elegance and time-honored artisanal techniques. Hermes’ signature orange boxes and meticulously crafted accessories, such as the iconic Birkin and Kelly bags, are coveted symbols of status that weave the narrative of French luxury into each stitch. Hermès stands as a testament to the allure of simplicity and the enduring legacy of quality.

  • Kering, a conglomerate that has risen to prominence with its own impressive roster of luxury labels, brings to the market a diverse blend of heritage and modernity. Gucci, a brand under Kering's expansive wing, has experienced an extraordinary renaissance, coupling its rich Italian heritage with contemporary cultural influences to captivate a new generation of luxury consumers. Kering's portfolio is also graced by the refined aesthetics of Bottega Veneta and the edgy, innovative designs of Yves Saint Laurent, each contributing to the group's stature within the luxury landscape. 

The tight grip these three behemoths have on the leather goods market is a testament to their deep roots in craftsmanship, their unyielding commitment to excellence, and their adeptness at staying at the forefront of style and luxury trends. Together, LVMH, Hermès, and Kering weave a majestic tapestry of French savoir.

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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of the study

Leather goods include the manufacture and distribution of small, fine leather goods, generally in the luxury sector. This includes leather bags, wallets, bracelets, belts, saddlery and car accessories, for example, but excludes glove-making and shoe-making.

France excels in this sector of high value-added activities requiring a skilled workforce. Its companies, major international luxury groups, export the "made in France " brand image to perfection, particularly in Asia where demand has been growing for several years.

But leather goods figures are also growing within France, boosted by a flourishing tourism industry after a drop in 2016, as well as a favorable economic context for individuals.

The leather goods industry is thus evolving in a high competitive environment, where fashion effects are obviously present; it is therefore appropriate for companies present in the market to adapt as finely as possible to demand, especially for new players who must build a brand image.Finally, the leather industry in general is threatened by a growing environmental and animal awareness of the population, favoring alternative products that are more environmentally friendly and of vegetable or synthetic origin.

The COVID-19 health crisis has drastically reduced activity in the luxury sector, and therefore in the leather goods segment. Indeed, as a large part of the activity is determined by external demand and the arrival of tourists in France, the leather goods sector has suffered an overall drop in sales.

List of charts

  • Market share of leading luxury leather brands
  • Projected leather sales
  • Total billings of French leather goods manufacturers
  • Foreign trade in leather goods
  • Main customer markets for French leather goods manufacturers
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Latest news

Chanel invests in Italy again: new joint for Gensi Group - 29/02/2024
  • **Chanel investment in the Gensi Group Footwear Factory**:
    • - Inauguration of a new 3,000-square-meter splicing department at the Mosciano Sant'Angelo (Teramo) production site.
    • - Activation of 4 new production lines of 70 meters each.
    • - Currently, 6 production lines are in operation, with a plan to double them in the next 3 years through the inclusion of new professional resources.
  • **Corporate Sustainability Initiatives**:
    • - Formation of 3 working groups dedicated to the company's environmental sustainability a year ago.
    • - Reduction in energy consumption and processing waste.
    • - Advances in recycling and reuse.
    • - Launch of in-house training institute "M'Astri Nascenti" in collaboration with Arsutoria School, with 60 people trained to date.
  • **Workforce and Hiring Plans**:
    • - Currently, the company has more than 660 employees, of whom more than 120 are hemlines.
    • - New hires are planned to further increase the workforce.
  • **Manufacturing Chanel and Italian Supply Chain**:
    • - Chanel shoes are designed in France but produced in Italy.
    • - Italian companies controlled by Chanel involved in production: Roveda of Parabiago (acquired in 1999), Gensi of Giulianova (acquired in 2015), and Ballin Shoes (acquired in 2020).
Delsey joins forces with Benetton and Jeep - 03/10/2023
  • Samsonite is identified as Delsey's main competitor.
  • Delsey recently signed two five-year licensing agreements with Benetton and Jeep.
  • Delsey already teamed up with Peugeot in January to develop a line of premium suitcases and bags.
  • Licensing revenues could account for up to 45% of Delsey's sales.
  • 50% of customers were unaware that Delsey was a French company.
  • Delsey still generates 20% of its business in France.
  • Delsey's sales forecast for 2023 is 250 million euros, an increase of 20.7% in one year.
Chanel creates "La Parcelle", a new green and artistic space - 14/09/2023
  • Le 19M, the space dedicated to Chanel's métiers d'arts, was inaugurated in 2021.
  • Le 19M brings together 600 craftsmen and experts in eleven Maisons d'arts.
Hermès, champion of luxury growth - 29/07/2023

Hermès sales growth: 25% in the first half.

Planned openings: four new leather goods stores by 2027.

Luxury: Hermès, the quiet force of luxury gallops on - 28/07/2023
  • Hermès sales reached over 6.6 billion euros in the first six months of the year. Sales were up 25%.
  • Sales in Asia were up 28%.
  • Sales in the United States rose by 20%, in Europe by 22% and in France by 24%.
  • Continued rapid growth in Hermès sales, with a particularly strong performance in Asia and in the leather goods market.
Massive recruitment at Longchamp - 28/06/2023
  • Longchamp plans to hire 450 new staff this year, including 200 in its French factories
  • Double-digit growth for Longchamp, outstripping that of the leather goods market
  • Percentage of Longchamp sales in France: 30% (a third of which are generated by foreign visitors)
  • Longchamp's online sales have tripled between 2019 and 2022 and represent almost 5% of sales
  • Longchamp has 800 employees in France out of a total of 1,100 emplyees
  • Longchamp has 330 directly-operated and concession stores worldwide, and 900 other points of sale
  • Longchamp aims to expand from 40 to 60 stores in China over the next 5 years
  • The Segré-en-Anjou Bleu site (Maine-et-Loire) employs 420 people

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Hermès International
Michael Kors
PRADA Retail France (Prada Groupe )
Toloméi Groupe
Maroquinerie Auguste Thomas
Les Ateliers de Vitré
Maroquinerie Pierre Cotte
Lancel (Piquadro)
Delsey Paris
Lancaster Maroquinier

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