The pandemic may have shut down galas, chic restaurants, and Caribbean vacation spots – but it didn’t get between shoppers and their Birkin bags.
French handbag maker Hermes said Friday that its classic Birkin and Kelly bags – which sell for an average of $ 20,000 each – were hot accessories during the holidaysThis helped increase fourth-quarter sales by 12.3 percent to 2.1 billion euros, or $ 2.54 billion.
This is despite the fact that customers have been painfully deprived of the places to display their expensive accessories. In fact, some analysts say handbags will benefit as well-heeled consumers now have fewer places to spend their money.
In a bad shopping season, the 184-year-old Hermes seems to have a moment. Despite coronavirus shuttering boutiques around the world in 2020, Hermes announced that sales were down only 6 percent on a currency-neutral basis. This corresponds to a 16 percent drop in sales at Kering, the owner of Gucci. and LVMH, whose billionaire boss Bernard Arnault failed in an attempt in 2017 Acquiring Hermes in a hostile takeover.
“Gucci had the most incredible fashion moment when people were out and about. There were events, openings and premieres,” said luxury expert Michele Ateyeh.
While the legendary Italian label is known for its bold colors and eye-catching statement pieces, Ateyeh said that Hermes bags that sold well during the pandemic are “classics that don’t go out of style and that get on the resale market and even gain in value. ”
According to Judy Taylor, owner of Madison Avenue Couture, classic colors like gray, black, gold, creamy white, and caramel were the hottest sellers. The boutique sold 30 percent more Hermes bags last year than in 2019, making it the best year in its eleven-year history.
“From Mother’s Day our business has been rapid,” said Taylor.
Even a 10 to 20 percent price hike for the retailer’s Hermes bags didn’t dampen demand. The average price of a Hermes bag topped the $ 20,000 mark for the first time last year, Taylor said.
Hermes also benefited from some free marketing: rapper Cardi B. showed her closet full of Hermes bags on Instagram in October and a post in the summer in which she gave her two-year-old daughter Kulture a Birkin bag worth $ 8,000.
Actor Michael B. Jordan also announced that he gave shares in Hermes to his girlfriend Lori Harvey on Valentine’s Day.
Hermes stock rose 3 percent on Friday to close at $ 116.51.