New Figures On Mainland Chinese Spending Bode Well For Luxury Retailers

Pao Principle Study Shows That Luxury Market Has Less To Fear In The Next Year Than Expected

"Tiffany is King" in mainland China, according to Pao Principle. Tiffany opened boutiques in Beijing & Shanghai in 2006

"Tiffany is King" in mainland China, according to Pao Principle. Tiffany opened boutiques in Beijing & Shanghai in 2006

With luxury retailers looking for any good news in a still-tough market, studies by several organizations in recent months have shown that things are a little less ghastly than expected, particularly in Asian and other emerging markets. The newest of these studies, carried out by business consulting firm Pao Principle, indicates that recent spending trends in mainland China should please luxury handbag, watch, and jewelry producers.

From Travel Agent Central:

According to…Pao Principle, almost 90 percent of individuals surveyed had bought a designer handbag in the past 12 months. Unsurprisingly, men accounted for luxury watch purchases at a ratio of almost two to one over women.

Out of those surveyed who had purchased fine jewelry, Tiffany was king, with almost a third of Mainland Chinese who had purchased fine jewelry in the past 12 month turning to the store for their wares.  Necklaces were the accessories of choice, with “white gold” reigning supreme in overall jewelry purchases.


For this study the Pao Principle tracked the buying habits of 448 “high-net-worth individuals.”  However, because most of the panelists surveyed were affluent, highly-educated females, 20-40, with over 80 percent home ownership, the study is limited in characterizing the spending habits of many affluent individuals in China.

Nevertheless, the Pao Principle insists that their study is useful for gaining insight into a significant section the Mainland China luxury market.

“Our proprietary panel of high-net-worth Mainland China luxury buyers provides new insights and challenges traditional beliefs,” according to Patricia Pao, president, Pao Principle.

Interestingly enough, the Pao Principle attributes much of the spending habits of affluent Chinese to the government itself, stating that the “one-child policy has spawned a generation of more self-centered individuals,” shifting the focus of spending from children to adults in smaller nuclear families. 

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