Disturbing trend of luxury market
Updated: 2012-11-22 08:07
A report on China's luxury market in 2011 says that it is worth more than 100 billion yuan ($16.03 billion) - and it is growing by about 25 percent a year. If China's luxury market continues to grow at this pace, it will soon replace Japan as the top luxury product consuming country. It is comforting to know that Chinese people can now afford luxury goods, but the distorted consumption of luxuries in the country has become a source of worry, says an article in People's Daily. Excerpts:
During this year's Spring Festival, Chinese consumers spent $7.2 billion on luxury products and services abroad. Apart from the huge amount spent, what has surprised the world is the craze seen among Chinese travelers at luxury stores and duty-free shops. And unlike in Western countries, young people in China comprise a relatively large proportion of the luxury goods consumers.
Defined as expensive, distinct, scarce and non-essential, luxury products represent a kind of lifestyle and attitude. People buy luxury goods for three reasons - to use part of the wealth they have created, for a pleasant shopping experience or to enjoy the finer things of life. But many Chinese luxury goods consumers do not fit this pattern.
For one, many of the young luxury consumers are not in a position to "create wealth"; they buy luxury goods with their parents' money. Besides, a considerable number of people buy luxury products as gifts or bribe, which also makes luxury goods a tool for spreading corruption in China.
Moreover, not many Chinese consumers can be said to enjoy the shopping experience, because they reportedly indulge in "panic buying", as seen at overseas malls. It is not rare to see young girls carrying designer handbags - for which they save for months - traveling in the metro or on a bus. Comparison with others is still the major reason why people in China buy luxury goods.
What we want is neither a poor nor a luxurious China. The ideal choice of most Chinese is to live a healthy, harmonious and beautiful life in return for their hard work.
(China Daily 11/22/2012 page9)