Two companies are about to control a quarter of the world’s luggage market

Red or blue?
Red or blue?
Image: Reuters/Max Rossi
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

The world of luggage-making is getting smaller.

French luxury-brand conglomerate LVMH said on Oct. 4 that it will buy a majority stake in Rimowa, the 118-year-old German luggage manufacturer known for its grooved, aluminum suitcases, for €640 euros ($718 million).

It’s the second large deal in the premium luggage market this year. The world’s largest luggage maker, Samsonite, agreed to buy its smaller, upscale rival Tumi for $1.8 billion (pdf) in March.

Rimowa said it expects the deal to be completed in January 2017 after a review by regulators. If all goes according to plan, Samsonite and LVMH, the parent of Louis Vuitton, will control roughly 25% of the world’s luggage market, based on data from market-research firm Euromonitor International. (Even before the acquisition of Tumi, Samsonite’s market share dwarfed that of LVMH, it’s closest rival, which had a 5% share last year.)

Both deals will give the companies a stronger presence in the coveted Asian luggage market, the world’s largest and fastest growing.

Travel accessories companies have reason to be optimistic about industry growth. Worldwide, international tourist arrivals rose 4% in the first half of 2016, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. That’s 561 million tourists hopscotching the globe.

The tricky part will be getting all those tourists to keep stocking up on luggage, when a new suitcase isn’t something you need to buy every year.