Sales of luxury apparel, jewellery and beauty products are set to slide by nearly a quarter this year as the pandemic wipes out more than six years of growth, according to a study released Wednesday by the consultancy Bain.

Still, the drop is narrower than the 35 per cent collapse forecast in the spring, thanks largely to a market recovery in China, which is generating nearly a third of all sales.

For 2020, the sector is expected to generate €217 billion (US$256 billion) in revenues, which is €2 billion below 2014 levels and down €64 billion from 2019, Bain said in the semi-annual study prepared for Italy’s Altagamma association of high-end producers.

It is the first decrease since the 2009 financial crisis, when the industry suffered a nine per cent drop but also quickly recovered the following year.

The timing of any bounceback from the pandemic remains uncertain, as a resurgence in the virus is leading countries to once again shut down non-essential retail and travel around the globe. It will largely depend on the timing of a vaccine, Bain partner Claudia D’Arpizio said in an interview.