Retail stores reopened in Paris, but luxury brands won’t understand how shopping patterns have changed until tourists resume travel

WHAT HAPPENED: Paris allowed boutiques and offices to reopen this week as it eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

WHY IT MATTERS

While reopening shops in Paris will enable brands to test new safety measures, the results won’t be entirely accurate as the majority of luxury shoppers in France aren’t French. Paris’ fashion industry is heavily dependent on tourists—around 950,000 Chinese tourists visited the city last year, spending $1.1 billion on hotels, restaurants and shopping, making them the second highest-spending nationality to visit the city. Even if the travel industry rebounds soon, the French capital will need to devise a concrete safety plan to accommodate the Chinese tourists who often shop in large groups. The world is watching Paris, as it is among the first European cities to reopen, but until tourism resumes, global brands won’t have a template for post-pandemic consumer behavior.