For luxury brands, the Brazilian market holds notable potential and a chance to capture the attention and spend of consumers unperturbed by the global pandemic. With the health crisis preventing wealthy Brazilians from travelling to their preferred luxury shopping destinations, spending has increased at home – even when many high-ticket items were marked up 30% higher by brands, in comparison with pre-pandemic prices (source: The Rio Times).
‘Many of our customers that used to travel and purchase abroad increased their purchases locally,' says Carlos Jereissati Filho, CEO of the Iguatemi Group of shopping malls. Indeed, the country is currently home to twice as many extremely wealthy people as Russia – 167,000 versus 78,000 high-net-worth individuals, according to Vogue Business.
‘Brazilians are more sophisticated than they used to be,’ says Diego Stecchi, managing director of Luxury Retail Partners, a company that helps brands enter new markets, himself a former regional director of Salvatore Ferragamo in Latin America. He believes that brands with an established presence will reap the most rewards in the immediate future, as seen locally with Bulgari and Cartier, which are focusing on select groups of HNWIs.
According to The Rio Times, Bulgari sold pieces worth more than £108,290 ($150,000, €126,000) in 2020, with HNWIs ‘spending less often but with significant prices’, according to Christian Konrad, Bulgari director for Latin America. Meanwhile, Cartier describes its clients’ growing flexibility in relation to high-value purchases such as jewellery and watches, with the company using Zoom, WhatsApp and digital events to retain personal connections.
‘The results achieved by Cartier in 2020 largely exceeded expectations for the year,’ explains Maxime Tarneaud, general manager of Cartier in Brazil. ‘The e-boutique totalled sales [in 2020] forecast only for the fifth year of operation, almost quintupling its sales compared to 2019.’
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