According to Altagamma’s Consensus 2024, released in November 2023, international macroeconomic uncertainty and volatility rising inflation, high interest rates, geopolitical tensions, price increases and the declining purchasing power of middle and high-end consumers – have led to a moderate market growth forecast for 2024. To be precise, the hard luxury segment – jewelry and watches – will maintain a positive trend with jewelry, still considered a safe haven and investment asset, at +5.5%, and timepieces, also seen as capitalization opportunities, especially for rare and hard-to-find models, up 3.5%. On the market front, the analysis shows that the U.S. will experience a slowdown in growth at +2.5% due to the effects of inflation and traditional Election Year uncertainties, while Latin America will have a better progression at 3%, with Mexico benefiting from exports due to the favorable exchange rate. Almost six months later, the scenario has slightly changed: the ghost of inflation has become less dangerous with the Personal consumer expenditures price index rising 2.4% year-on-year in the United States in February, slowing from December’s +2.6%, and forecasts envisage a year under the banner of moderation, as Luca Solca, Senior Research Analyst, Global Luxury Goods at Bernstein, explains: «We expect a FY24E in the name of moderation, but with a soft landing trajectory. Despite market fears, 2023 ended with a re-acceleration compared to the summer. The comments we are receiving on current trading in 1Q24E are constructive, despite the difficult comparison basis we had in 1Q22.» Not only that, the jewelry market has proven to be more competitive than luxury accessories. 

«On the whole, I expect jewelry to be one of the most dynamic categories – also due to less vigorous price inflation than leather goods in recent years,» Solca continues. «In other words, consumer jewelry has become a more convenient buy than handbags because brands like Cartier, for example, have raised prices much less than Chanel or Dior. The U.S. is one of the markets where demand continues to be robust also supported in recent months by a sharp drop in inflation.» In an election year that, on 5th November, will see Joe Biden challenge Donald Trump for a second term, caution is to be expected in light of the two candidates’ divergent foreign policy positions. And while the age of the Democratic candidate gives cause for concern, a second presidency of the Republican Tycoon is seen as worrying, especially by Europe. «The presidential election will not, in our view, weigh heavily on the performance of the hard luxury sector. A possible re-election of Donald Trump is of no concern: in 2016 his victory marked a strong economic boom,» concludes the Senior Research Analyst.