The rivalry between Italy and France and how it translates into luxury

A rivalry without winners or, at least, that tells of a different way of understanding and declining their business projects. Deloitte’s Global Powers of Luxury Goods 2021 explains it to us


The relationship between Italy and France is one of (many) battles and (few) alliances. The rivalry is historical and transversal, from football to wine and from cheese to art, music, painting, cinema, but also fashion and luxury. In these last two sectors, the battle between Italian creatives and French capitalists has been raging for years. Who will win (if there is a winner)?

The rivalry between Italy and France

The Global Powers of Luxury Goods 2021, based on 2020 data by Deloitte, tells us that there is no clear winner. On the one hand, we have the French grandeur that dominates luxury by dint of numbers with its giants (LVMH and Kering in particular). On the other hand, there is a certain type of Italian independence that does not let itself be dominated by its cousins and produces 26 companies in the top 100 of luxury. In other words, no other country is better represented.

The numbers say France

If we look at numbers, results and performance, there is no contest. France has only 8 companies in the Top 100. But they are giants and generate 28.1% of the turnover of all those in the ranking. Of these 8, 4 are in the top 10: LVMH in the first place, Kering in second, L’Oreal in fifth and Hermés in ninth. Not to mention Chanel (sixth place) which Deloitte gives the UK flag because of its headquarters. Just to give you an idea, the average size of French companies is $8.9 billion (sales figures). As the largest and most structured companies are emerging from the pandemic, it is clear that Paris has the highest margin ratios of all. Importantly, the top 15 companies in the ranking, with sales above $5 billion, account for 63% of total sales in the ranking.

What rewards Italy

Italy can hold its own with the imagination of its champions: it has 26 in the ranking, 4 more than last year: Golden Goose, Morellato, Stone Island and Pinko. The only tricolour flag in the top ten is that of Essilor Luxottica. Sixteen out of 26 are fashion companies. In 2020, sales of Italian companies fell, on average, by 21.5%. French companies lost 11.7%. And we’ll stop here because comparing economic and financial data is impractical.

And what about luxury?

But in the end, how did luxury do in 2020? Not so bad. The world’s top 100 companies generated sales of $252 billion, down from $281 billion the previous year. However, despite the drop in sales, more than 1 in 2 companies ended the year in profit. Who would have bet on that?

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