Here's Why China Is The Future Of The Luxury-Goods Market

China's luxury market

Photo: Bomoda

If you think about luxury goods and China—the odds are slim, we know—you probably think about cheap knockoffs of brand-name wares.But that’s all changing. China is minting millionaires at an amazing pace—there are 2.7 million in the country, according to the Hurun Report—and they increasingly want the prestige of real luxury goods.

China’s set to overtake Japan as the largest market for luxury goods in the world. And unlike Western countries, where the typical luxury consumer is older, most of the buying in China is buy women under the age of 45.

We asked Brian Buchwald, the CEO of Bomoda, a startup which publishes an email newsletter for Chinese luxury-goods consumers, for some insight into the market. Here’s what he shared.

Shanghai is already a world-class fashion centre—but now demand is spreading to the emerging middle class in second- and third-tier Chinese cities.

45 per cent of Chinese luxury consumers are between the ages of 18 and 34.

The most popular luxury brands in China are French. In 2010, Chinese consumers spent $50 billion on luxury goods imported from Europe.

Because of high import taxes, 56 per cent of Chinese luxury consumption is done overseas.

Paris, Rome, and Milan are their favourite destinations.

The average Chinese millionaire is only 39, according to the Economist. The country already has 2.7 million of them.

The average Chinese woman who buys luxury goods spends 11% of her disposable income on handbags, according to the Pao Consultancy.

China is already the largest Internet market in the world—513 million Internet users, according to McKinsey.

Apparel is one of the fastest-growing categories of online advertising in China.

Two out of three Chinese luxury-goods consumers in 2010 were first-time buyers.

But there's a ton of potential. Only 2% of consumers bought what can be considered top-end brands, according to luxury-market expert Zhu Mingxia.

All that said, there's still a side to China untouched by Western commerce ...

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