The economic impact of the luxury sector

The economic impact of the luxury sector

Frontier was commissioned by Walpole, the official sector body for UK luxury, to analyse the economic impact of the luxury sector in the UK. 

Our analysis highlights its significant contribution, with a turnover of £81bn in 2022, growing from £48bn in 2017.  

This builds on Frontier’s previous research into the luxury sector’s contribution to the UK economy. In addition to an updated economic impact review, this new report examines the jobs and skills the luxury sector provides the UK, how the industry benefits the people it employs and impacts the broader UK economy. 

Key findings: 

  • The UK luxury sector's turnover was valued at around £81bn in 2022 
  • It’s a major UK employer, supporting 454,000 jobs directly and indirectly 
  • The UK luxury sector’s total exports at £56bn, up 45% in 5 years 
  • It accounts for around 1% of UK GDP 

With a combined total employment of 454,300, the luxury sector is a major UK employer. It accounts for 219,000 jobs at high-end and luxury brands across the country, and 235,300 jobs for indirect employment, which together amounts to around 1.5% of people in employment across the UK – or one in every 66 jobs. This shows the role of both the luxury brands and their supply chains to employment in the UK. 

The UK’s luxury industry’s turnover grew by 69% between 2017 and 2022, and registering a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11% in the period. This performance is notable given the challenges faced by the industry in that time, including Impacts related to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, greater fragmentation in global trade, the COVID-19 pandemic, the loss of tax-free shopping for international visitors to the UK and rising energy costs.  

Despite this, in 2022, the luxury industry contributed £21.6bn in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy, roughly the same as the pharmaceutical sector. 

The sector is expected to continue its growing over the next five years. In nominal terms, a lower-case scenario would see the sector growing to between £105bn and £110bn by 2028, while a higher-case scenario could see that figure rise to between £125bn and £135bn.  

In the report, Walpole has identified areas for government support to help grow the sector. 

Click here to read the full report: Luxury in the Making