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Qatar named fastest growing luxury market amid China slowdown

Nadine Rupp | Getty Images

The Middle East has the potential to become the world's fastest-growing luxury market, according to a new report.

Qatar topped the list of fastest growing luxury markets for 2014, followed by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, a study by Ledbury Research revealed. The results are based on the amount of business air traffic into the country, the number of luxury store openings and the gross domestic product per capita.

The survey's results come as analysts predict a slowdown in the China luxury market with former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, claiming that the Chinese market was experiencing a "new normal".

Luxury awareness in Qatar is high with Italian label Valentino, iconic British shop Harrods and French department store Printemps under the country's control through its sovereign wealth fund.

Many men and women in Qatar wear traditional Islamic dress and donning expensive bags and jewellery is a way to individualise an outfit, Nicola Ko, senior luxury analyst at Ledbury, told CNBC in a phone interview.

(Read more: Top 2% of Chinese account for third of global luxury sales)

"The only way they can display wealth is by splashing out on big ticket bags and jewellery and that's one of the ways to identify and differentiate themselves from the crowd," Ko said.

Qatar made up only 0.2 percent of the global luxury market in 2012, and with the number of millionaires set to increase by 7 percent in 2014, Ko said the country presented a big growth potential.

Africa is another luxury hotspot to watch. Nigeria ranked sixth on Ledbury's list and is being eyed up by many luxury brands, Ko said.

With 32,000 millionaires who frequently travel abroad to shop due to the limited selection of brands at home, Nigeria country is "desperate" for international luxury brands, according to Ledbury's research note.

Champagne, cognac and flashy clothing are key products in the African luxury market as consumers with increasing wealth like to "show off," Ko told CNBC.

"Historically we have seen luxury men's brands there, just because it is still the men that are new to wealth. They are gravitating towards things that are flashier. The luxury market is small there and there is lot of potential."

—By CNBC's Arjun Kharpal: Follow him on Twitter @ArjunKharpal

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