As feared and expected, Coronavirus continues to spread across the globe. The virus quickly moved to, at least, 75 countries infecting more than 94,900 people and killing at least 3,283 worldwide (Source: CNN International). As of now, Antarctica is the only untouched continent!
Parts of the world like China, Hong Kong and South Korea, have been battling Coronavirus already for a month and a half. Other areas, like India and the United States, are just witnessing the initial onset and rapid growth of the virus.
Experts predict that the impact of the virus is likely to be seen across the globe through 2020. WWD reports that the most significant impact will be on retail, particularly luxury retail. PurseBop previously reported on the expected financial effect of the virus on top luxury brands. We also discussed the cancellation of fashion weeks by Chanel and Prada in China and Japan, respectively. And these are just the beginning.
The spate of cancellations of fashion weeks and shows likely will not abate any time soon. Tokyo is the latest fashion week (after Shanghai, Beijing and Seoul) cancelled. Further, Gucci canceled its Cruise 2021 show scheduled for May 18 in San Francisco. Several trade shows, from Mido and the Salone del Mobile in Milan, to Cosmoprof in Bologna, Watches & Wonders in Geneva and Baselworld, also have been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Moreover, as people stay home or at least away from crowded confined spaces, shopping malls and stores are near empty, if not closed entirely. It likely will be months before the full financial cost of coronavirus is really known.
It is heartening to see parts of the world trying to return to form and take the situation in their stride. Schools in Hong Kong plan to reopen in April. Normal life in Seoul and Singapore is slowly resuming, albeit with several precautions. In fact, there are reports that Fashion World Tokyo will take place as scheduled April 1st through 3rd. Organizers plan special precautions to prevent the spread of the illness, such as providing alcohol-based hand sanitizer and checking visitors’ body temperatures at the entrance.
WWD reports that malls and stores across mainland China are slowly reopening under restricted operating hours so as to avoid rush hour commutes for employees. People are ready to resume normal life while protecting oneself from the virus. Although the sales revenue decline now experienced by the luxury industry is unlikely to be recovered this quarter or possibly even the year, the countries first impacted by the virus are trying to return to some degree of normalcy.
We admire their resolve and hope sincerely that the virus abates and a cure or vaccination is found soon.
Obviously, preventing the spread of coronavirus is more pressing that our luxury desires. But, we have to ask . . . is your shopping affected? Let us know.