Daisy Liu epitomizes China’s obsession with luxury brands: her shoes are Guiseppe Zanotti, her brooch Chanel, a floral Hermes scarf is stylishly knotted over one shoulder. She won’t, however, tote a monogrammed Mulberry Alexa Outlet ever again.
Wealthy shoppers such as Liu are increasingly thumbing their noses at labels they believe have been tainted by the common touch, seeking out under-stated, and exclusive, merchandise from the likes of Chanel or Hermes instead. That is becoming a big challenge for designers hoping to cash in on the world’s fastest growing luxury market.
“I have two Louis Vuitton handbags but I no longer carry them although they are still in fashion, ” said Liu, 31, an employee at a multinational cosmetics firm. “I don’t think the brand fits me any more. ”
More than a decade of strong economic growth has helped swell the disposable incomes of millions of Chinese, creating legions of men and women with a voracious appetite for status symbols regardless of the cost.
China’s importance for firms such as Louis Vuitton’s parent LVMH and Gucci’s PPR SA is indisputable: last year, as Europe was mired in financial crisis and the U. S. economy faltered, mainland Chinese shoppers spent an estimated $18 billion on luxury goods, according to consultants Bain & Co.
China is the world’s third biggest market for personal luxury goods, worth at least $25 billion. In the next three years, it is expected to leap over Japan and the united states to take the top spot, with the luxury segment expanding to $28 billion.
As it grows, the market is also maturing, moving from so-called aspirational luxury, where bling is king, to what experts call absolute luxury: the desire to be seen as both wealthy and discerning.
“In the past, it was just a checklist. If you were one of the top five brands out of some magazine, you found that people in China just checked the checklist and bought according to the list, ” said Vincent Liu, partner at Boston Consulting Group. “Going forward, people will be more selective. They know what and where and when to use what brands and products. ”
Lui’s eyeing a coral lambskin Mulberry Bayswater Outlet from Bottega Veneta, the Italian fashion house renowned for its signature woven leather goods.
“The truly wealthy, the real millionaires, they will not want to buy LV Louis Vuitton or Gucci because they are too commonplace, ” said Shaun Rein, managing director, China Market research Group. “Rich people are getting richer and they want exclusiveness and more self-indulgence. “
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