Industry insiders said that China’s buyers of luxury goods are young – and with a lack of taste.
According to research from the Hong Kong Institute of Fashion Buying, China’s consumers of luxury and high fashion are between 20 and 50 years old. In contrast, luxury consumers in Japan are mainly between 40 and 60 years old.
“‘One-off consumption’ and ‘purchasing on a sudden impulse’ are the characteristics of young Chinese fans of luxury fashion,” said Gan Jing, a consultant from the Hong Kong Institute of Fashion Buying.
A survey by McKinsey & Co also showed that Chinese buyers of luxury goods are younger. The survey said some 73 percent of Chinese luxury goods buyers are aged 45 and younger, while that number is 50 percent in the United States.
And youth, sometimes, is associated with ignorance. Helen Wu, editor of an entertainment TV program in Shanghai, said: “Chinese consumers do not have good taste in luxury consumption. They buy things just because a magazine or luxury website told them it is worth buying.”
But this is good news for magazines and websites that promote luxury goods and the elite lifestyle.
Liu Jin, a 30-year-old man who works for a luxury magazine focusing on cars in Shanghai, said people are eager to acquire information about luxury goods.
“We used to send magazines to our potential consumers for free four years ago, but the marketing strategy has changed. We’ve found an increasing number of people are willing to pay for magazines with luxury consumer information,” Liu said.
A news vendor on Fuwai Street in Beijing said that magazines about luxury trends are priced up to 25 yuan ($3.80), while news magazines usually cost 10 yuan.
“But fashion magazines are easier to sell, and I never need to worry about that,” he said. In cyberspace, there are now more than 60 luxury websites operating in China, though there were none a few years ago. Even on Twitter “officially” banned in China (but still widely used by the Chinese elite), young and affluent Chinese shoppers have their own Twitter account @niuyuemag about luxury shopping trends in New York City!
As young people like online shopping, luxury goods retailers are building more websites to facilitate purchases. In March, Burberry, a luxury British brand, launched its online shopping website for Chinese consumers, media reports said.