In times marked by economic austerity, Marbella has once again taken the title of crown jewel of the Spanish luxury goods market.
Leaving behind the judicial stigma that has dogged this seaside town in recent years, this latest statistic on the Spanish economy would indicate that Marbella has a thriving economy.
Marbella, leader in the luxury goods market
According to Exceltur, Marbella is the tourist destination with the most number of overnight stays by foreigners in Spain. This increase of visitors , most of them affluent , has been reflected in year-end growth in the commercial sector accounts dedicated to high-end luxury products & services.
As a result, Marbella is now ranked 2nd in Spanish cities and towns for the highest percentage of sales of luxury products and services derived from Spain, knocking the capital Madrid down to 3rd place.
The luxury goods sector ended the year with revenues at the national level of around €5.120 million a year on increase of 7%.
Marbella accounted for no less than 25% (€1,280 million) of those sales, according to data provided by “Luxury Spain” – the Spanish Association of Luxury.
In comparison, Madrid achieved 17% of sales in the luxury goods sector, and now ranks 3rd, one down from the previous year.
Barcelona remains the leading city, with 36% of the revenue for luxury goods in the Spanish market deriving from the city.
The luxury goods sector is predominantly made up of food and beauty related products, which account for 60% of total sales, followed by tourism and services.
Fashion and accessories are also gaining more weight in the luxury “made in Spain” sector.
The president of the Association of Entrepreneurs and Professionals Puerto Banús (AEPB), Giuseppe Russo, stated:
“We have had a particularly good summer, especially for luxury brands that have managed to increase its sales between 7-10%”
The businessman Miguel Gómez y Molina, co-owner of one of the most exclusive jewelers in town, indicates that companies like Rolex will end the year with a growth in its boutique of approx. 30%. In the case of the Swiss watchmaker Patek Philippe, sales have increased by 50%.
A glittering forecast for 2014
The high end market has been one that has best weathered the crisis well, and also appears to have a bright and sustainable future.
As Marbella has established itself as a high end tourist destination in Europe, we can expect to see more upscale retailers opting to have a physical present in the city.
Both Valentino and Dior are looking to expand their retail space in Puerto Banus.
In early 2014 the first Steve Madden store in Spain open in Marina Banus shopping centre. Steve Madden is a leading brand of shoes and accessories in the US.
Spokespeople from La Canada and Marina Banus have told us that other leading brand are looking to open retail stores in Marbella, but they are keeping the details secret for now.
But it’s not just the tourists that are contributing to the luxury goods market. Those foreigners who have chosen to set up home on the Costa del Sol are also buying luxury goods.
Luis Sanchez, head of McLaren Marbella confirms this. Last year, they sold one of only 50 McLaren cars here in Marbella. The limited edition 12C model was produced for the 50th anniversary of McLarens and had a price tag of €250,000 plus 21% IVA (VAT) and a further 16.9% registration.
The Danish, English, Norwegian and Central Americans are the main nationalities buying luxury cars. In some of these countries the taxation of a high end car can reach 150% of the price, so buying a car in Spain to be used for their holidays here, with tourist plates, can be financially attractive.
The company has already sold – to deliver in 2014 – three units of the P1 model, with a price of €890,000 (excluding taxes ).
Nevertheless, the head of the operator at McLarens recognizes that the business “has suffered from the crisis.” While maintaining high end sales, the sale of “midrange” cars which were predominantly bought by Spanish clients over the years, has practically dried up.
Marbella is set to continue to be recognized as a luxury resort in 2014. This year, work will begin on the former Don Miguel hotel which is to be turned into a new five star deluxe hotel opening in 2015 thanks to an injection of capital from Arabic investors.