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The world's biggest luxury markets in 2015


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These markets dominate the high-end

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

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