No less an oracle than Anna Wintour herself has declared that luxury goods sales and travel will become hot commodities once again due to the pent-up demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. The Global Chief Content Officer for Conde Nast, and Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, told the Financial Times last month that lines around the block for newly reopened luxury stores in London were a harbinger of good things to come. “’People have been locked up for a long time and they are going to want to spend. They are going to want to travel…to get dressed up.’”
London’s reopening featured Holiday-like exuberance across department stores, with extravagant windows, exclusive pop-ups, and exciting brand collaborations, all designed to get consumers back into the stores to shop. Retail Gazette reported that London’s major department stores partnered with everyone from Soul Cycle to local small businesses – all designed to provide a more customer-focused, experiential environment by capitalizing on trends that had become important during lockdown.
The desire to make up for lost spending was first seen in China. “Revenge Shopping” is a literal translation of a Chinese phrase describing that country’s post-lockdown rush to purchase luxury items. In April, WWD reported that the Guangzhou Hermès boutique flagship had sold $2.7 Million worth of merchandise in its first day of trading after lockdown restrictions were eased. The store even sold a diamond-studded Birkin. While that may seem really over the top given the year we’ve just experienced, some indicators point toward a similar euphoria in the U.S. now that more than 289 million Americans have been vaccinated.