By Michael Evans
China’s consumption of luxury goods is the highest in the world, according to a new survey.
The study released earlier this month by the consulting firm McKinsey found that China currently accounts for 27 percent of the global US$145 billion luxury goods market. By 2015, China’s share will balloon to nearly one-third of the global luxury pie, the report estimated.
To satisfy the great demand of Chinese customers, many global luxury brands have set up stores across China. The number of Gucci’s stores in Beijing triples that of those in New York City; Apple has opened its biggest store in Asia in Beijing; and Chanel has produced its own Chinese design.
The survey also said that there is a growing number of Chinese customers that choose to shop for luxury products abroad rather than in the country, partly due to high customs duties. Europe is a particularly popular destination because of the weak performance of the euro.
The majority of luxury consumers are men, making up two-thirds of total buyers, according to an earlier 2011 survey. The expensive habits of China’s (predominantly male) government officials have been chronicled in detail in recent weeks in a series of high-profile corruption cases.
Some analysts have predicted that incidents such as these, combined with the Communist Party’s new focus on clamping down on corruption and wasteful spending, will significantly slow future growth of China’s luxury purchases.