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The world's biggest luxury markets in 2015

These markets dominate the high-end

Dougal Waters | Getty Images

The growing fortunes of the 1 percent weren't enough to combat a slowdown in luxury sales over the past year.

According to Bain & Company, sales of personal luxury goods — which include apparel, handbags and jewelry — are expected to tick just slightly higher at constant exchange rates, representing growth between 1 and 2 percent.

That compares to 3 percent growth over the prior year, and a 7 percent increase during the 2013 to 2014 period. The figures serve as the latest evidence that 2015's slowdown wasn't just the result of tumultuous markets or currency headwinds. Instead, they're a sign that the double-digit growth posted by the high-end market before the recession is likely a thing of the past.

"The slowdown confirms a shift to a 'new normal' of lower sales growth in the personal luxury goods market," Bain said. "The challenge for luxury brands in this environment is to successfully navigate market volatility driven by currency swings and fluctuating tourist flows."

Accessories were once again the most popular among personal luxury goods categories, accounting for 30 percent of the global market and representing 3 percent growth at constant exchange. Apparel came in second, representing 24 percent of the market, and posting 2 percent growth.

Meanwhile, the watch category struggled with too much inventory in Asia, causing sales to contract 6 percent in constant exchange rates.

So which regions outperformed? Click ahead for a list of the largest luxury markets in 2015.

(Sales listed are from Bain & Company's preliminary results for 2015, and relate solely to the personal luxury goods market.)

—By CNBC's Krystina Gustafson
Published 31 Dec. 2015

10. Hong Kong

Shoppers jam the Times Square neighborhood and surrounding retail stores in Hong Kong, China.
George Rose | Getty Images

Sales (in € billions): 6.8
Growth in euros: -11 percent
Growth in local currency: -25 percent
2014 rank: 9

Luxury sales in Hong Kong declined over the past year due to a government crackdown against corruption, as well as the prevalence of the gray market. Combined, those two factors caused Hong Kong to slip one spot in Bain's rankings.

9. Middle East

People shopping at a marketplace in Gaza City, Gaza
Ali Hassan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Sales (in € billions): 8.1
Growth in euros: 19 percent
Growth in local currency: Flat
2014 rank: 10

Weakness in Hong Kong and Macau allowed the Middle East to climb a spot in the rankings. The region was led by sales from Dubai — the 19th largest city by revenue, according to Bain, at roughly 3 billion euros.

8. South Korea

Crowded street of Myeongdong in Seoul, South Korea
Loop Images | UIG | Getty Images

Sales (in € billions): 10.8
Growth in euros: 16 percent
Growth in local currency: 4 percent
2014 rank: 8

Despite slower traffic from Chinese tourists and an outbreak of the MERS virus that dented revenue in the second half of the year, luxury sales in South Korea still managed to grow 4 percent in constant exchange rates last year, according to Bain.

7. Germany

People walking around the stores and Christmas market stalls in Munich, Germany.
Andrea Ronchini | Pacific Press | Light Rocket | Getty Images

Sales (in € billions): 11.9
Growth in euros: 14 percent
Growth in local currency: 14 percent
2014 rank: 7

Germany's sales growth accelerated over the past year, increasing an extra 10 percentage points compared to the 2013-2014 period. According to Euromonitor, high-end electronic gadgets outperformed, while the weakest performance was logged by luxury jewelry and timepieces.

6. United Kingdom

Matt Cardy | Getty Images

Sales (in € billions): 15.6
Growth in euros: 16 percent
Growth in local currency: 5 percent
2014 rank: 6

A stronger sterling helped boost luxury sales in the United Kingdom. London alone pulled in 13 billion euros in 2015, compared to 10.1 billion euros last year, according to Bain.

5. France

People visit the Christmas market in the western French city of Nantes
Georges Gobet | AFP | Getty Images

Sales (in € billions): 17.1
Growth in euros: 10 percent
Growth in local currency: 10 percent
2014 rank: 4

The depreciation of the euro caused France to slump one slot, to fifth. Still, Paris ranked in the top three cities by revenue, at 13 billion euros. That compares to 11.3 billion euros in 2014.

4. Italy

Shoppers in Milan, Italy.
Pier Marco Tacca | Getty Images

Sales (in € billions): 17.3
Growth in euros: 6 percent
Growth in local currency: 6 percent
2014 rank: 3

Like France, Italy lost ground in Bain's rankings thanks to a weak euro. Both Milan and Rome scored slots among the top 15 luxury cities.

3. China

Chinese shoppers walk past Christmas decorations outside a shopping mall on December 23, 2015 in Beijing, China.
Lintao Zhang | Getty Images

Sales (in € billions): 17.9
Growth in euros: 17 percent
Growth in local currency: -1 percent
2014 rank: 5

A big beneficiary from the weaker euro, China moved up two slots in Bain's rankings. That's despite the fact that Chinese shoppers continue to spend more money abroad. According to Bain, shoppers from this country account for the largest portion of global purchases, at 31 percent.

2. Japan

Visitors walk underneath New Year's Day decorations celebrating next year's 'Year of the Monkey' from the Chinese zodiac, at the Nakamise shopping alley in front of Sensoji Temple in Tokyo on December 26, 2015.
Toshifumi Kitamura | Getty Images

Sales (in € billions): 20.1
Growth in euros: 13 percent
Growth in local currency: 9 percent
2014 rank: 2

Spending by local consumers and Chinese tourists looking to capitalize on currency swings helped drive luxury sales in Japan. But while the country ranked second on Bain's list, all of the luxury goods purchases in Japan fell short of those in one U.S. city: New York.

1. United States

People carry shopping bags as they walk past the Empire State Building in New York City.
Kena Betancur | Getty Images

Sales (in € billions): 78.6
Growth in euros: 20 percent
Growth in local currency: Flat
2014 rank: 1

Although revenue came in flat over the past year, the United States remained the undisputed leader in luxury goods. A pullback in demand from domestic shoppers, paired with a stronger dollar denting the number of purchases from international tourists, meant the U.S. market "did not deliver" in 2015, according to Bain.

Still, the U.S. luxury goods market raked in more money than Japan, China, Italy and France combined.