Tag Archives: shopping

Art Market Confidence Index Shows 75% Of HK Auction Respondents In The Mood To Buy

As Hong Kong “Stirs From Slumber” And Buyer Confidence Remains High In China, What Can We Expect To See Next Week?

Zeng Fanzhi is one of the historical Chinese contemporary artists up for auction in Hong Kong next week

Zeng Fanzhi is one of the historical Chinese contemporary artists up for auction in Hong Kong next week

We’ve been interested in the upcoming Hong Kong Sotheby’s auctions of Contemporary Chinese, Southeast Asian and other Asian art, with a particularly obvious fixation on the Chinese side, for some time. After the surprising turnout of mainland Chinese, and their willingness to go far above and beyond lot estimates to take home something they’ve set their hearts on, Sotheby’s is likely expecting a good proportion of bidders both from the mainland and other areas of Greater China — definitely Hong Kong, since buyers from that market have been something of a fixture at Chinese art auctions for ages. And while the unpredictable nature of art auctions makes it difficult to forecast how next week’s auctions turn out (although total revenue estimates for all of the Hong Kong auctions are close to US$100 million), many people are excited and motivated to buy some high-quality, historical art.

One thing that makes the auction of contemporary Chinese art even more interesting to me on a personal level is the way it will coincide with “Golden Week,” a week of celebrations coinciding with both Chinese National Day and the Mid-Autumn Festival. If last year’s turnout was any indication, Golden Week could draw well over a million mainlanders to Hong Kong this year, most of whom are coming to the city either to shop for expensive objects or eat and drink for days. While Golden Week, on its own, really shouldn’t affect the Sotheby’s sale too much, it is within the realm of possibility that some of the shopping-mad mainlanders might be shipping a Yue Minjun or Liu Ye painting home along with their boxes of luxury goods.

Another reason I’m excited about the Hong Kong sales next week is because of this article, published today by Art Market Insight, which is bullish on the article because of the comparatively fast re-emergence of Hong Kong following the global economic crisis:

Once again, Sotheby’s is weighting its sale in favour of the Contemporary segment (Contemporary Asian Art) which carries the richest of the three catalogues with 190 lots and a total revenue estimate of $12.5m. In order to re-kindle interest amongst its biggest clients, the auctioneer has built a catalogue of very attractive signatures. Among the star lots: a powder drawing by CAI Guoqiang , Money net NO.2, estimated at HKD 4.7m – 5.5m, ($606,000 – $710,000), several paintings by YUE Minjun , including Hats series – The lovers expected to generate around $400,000 (estimated HKD 2.8m – 3.5m), three paintings from the famous Chinese Portrait series by FENG Zhengjie including a superb contemporary Amazon (4 x 3 metres) estimated at $100,000 – $130,000 (HKD 800,000 – 1m). A very similar monumental portrait fetched $133,000 in June 2009 (Phillips de Pury & Company, London, £81,000).

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Mainland Shoppers Set To Flock To HK For Golden Week

1.8 Million Tourists And Shoppers Made The Trip Last Year; Will This Year See Similar Figures?

Photo Courtesy Hong Kong Tourism Board

Photo Courtesy Hong Kong Tourism Board

Hong Kong retailers, hoteliers and merchants of all shapes and sizes are getting ready for the second of two “Golden Weeks” which take place annually in China — the first celebrating Chinese New Year and the second beginning on National Day (Oct. 1) and continuing through the Mid-Autumn Festival (Oct. 3) until finally ending on the 8th. For Hong Kong’s luxury retailers, Golden Week has traditionally provided a much-needed boost to their sales, particularly as fall begins and the flow of foreign tourists slows down significantly.

For many mainlanders, however, Golden Week is a chance to hop over the border and do some serious shopping. As Hong Kong retailers aren’t saddled with the same high sales and luxury taxes as those in the mainland, shoppers from throughout China often take advantage of the timing of Golden Week to enjoy the cultural ambiance of Hong Kong while stocking up on expensive products that would — at home — cost up to double the price.

Today, the New York Times Globespotters blog gives a glimpse into the fun (and chaos) of Golden Week in Hong Kong, when millions of shoppers (many of whom have saved up throughout the year for their HK shopping spree) converge on this small but densely-packed city to queue up for hours and open their wallets:

European designer emporiums, jewelers and gold shops will all be packed, as mainland Chinese rush to buy goods that are both cheaper, and more likely authentic, than back home. (Unlike China, Hong Kong has no sales or luxury taxes.) For upscale shopping, avoid the crowds by trying department stores like Lane Crawford instead.

As far as the local government is concerned, you can’t have too many festivals. During this hectic period, there is also the Hong Kong International Arts and Antiques Fair from Oct. 3 to 6, and the Hong Kong International Jazz Festival from Oct. 1 to 15. Jazz and antiques aren’t big Chinese tourist draws, so they might be another way to escape from the maddening crowds.

In addition to these festivals and events, this year’s Golden Week will also coincide with Sotheby’s Autumn Auction of Contemporary Chinese and Asian Artwork, taking place on October 6 in Hong Kong. It’ll be a great opportunity for luxury buyers who have come over from the mainland to bid on some domestic contemporary artists and maybe take home a few Yue Minjuns, Zeng Fanzhis or Cai Guo-Qiangs in addition to the boatloads of Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Rolexes they’re going to tote back over the border.

Red Star To Red Flag: Macy’s Targeting The Chinese Market?

American Retailer Looking To Target Lucrative (And Still-Growing) Chinese Tourist Market?

Is Macy's going to push for more brand recognition among Chinese shoppers?

Is Macy's going to push for more brand recognition among Chinese shoppers?

For years, American retailer Macy’s has adopted several strategies to entice foreign tourists to spend more at its flagship location in New York’s Herald Square, from discount cards for international shoppers to promotions tied to free coupon books. As the global financial crisis bit down on New York tourism in the last year, there are signs that stores like Macy’s may be looking abroad to markets they have never before targeted specifically, namely China, where the number of tourists traveling overseas has skyrocketed in the last 20 years. Cities like New York, where travelers from places like mainland China tend to spend most of their time shopping, are expected to benefit the most from the oncoming wave of Chinese tourists, and since the relaxation of some travel restrictions last year, a noticeable rise in Chinese tourists has already been noted in New York — where Chinese spend an average of $2,200 each, making them the city’s most profligate foreign tourists.

With its size, midtown location and historical pedigree, Macy’s has always appealed to foreign tourists looking for a “New York shopping experience” (or those who just want to take advantage of a comparatively weak dollar to stock up on clothes). If Macy’s truly wants to target the Chinese market, and get a larger slice of the Chinese tourist dollar, they would be well advised to learn a few cultural particularities about Chinese tourists:

1.) Chinese travelers love giveaways…and will go out of their way to get them

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China’s ’80s Generation “In Love With Luxury”

Luxury Fans Born In The 1980s Quickly Developing Strong Brand Loyalty, Increasingly Sophisticated Taste

China's "80s Generation" has grown up completely within China's post-reform market environment

China's "80s Generation" has grown up completely within China's post-reform market environment

Much of the news we see coming out of China’s luxury market tends to focus on consumers in the 30s and 40s, if not older, but an interesting article from the Beijing Review (via Alibaba News) today looks at a younger demographic — the luxury crowd in their early- to mid-20s. While the number of young people in China who can afford top luxury goods is formidable, it is admittedly only a segment of a segment of this age group, as it is in most global markets. However, what makes them remarkable in China is the speed at which they have not only found and stuck with the brands they like, but have become immensely influential to marketers and designers around the world.

Ding Wenlei, writing for the Beijing Review, looks into the importance of the Chinese luxury market to global brands, who are looking to “glocalize” their products for emerging markets in China and India:

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China’s Stimulus Plan: Spurring Consumption?

All Eyes On Chinese Consumer Data, Particularly In The Luxury And High-End Segments, As Consumption In Other Markets Remains Sluggish

China's traditionally high individual savings rate is showing signs of easing somewhat, as middle-class and wealther consumers head back to stores

China's traditionally high individual savings rate is showing signs of easing somewhat, as middle-class and wealther consumers head back to stores

A number of outlets have given their thoughts on what it will take for Chinese consumers to cut back on their traditionally high savings rate and spend more of their disposable income, with some writing that it will take the creation of a bigger social safety net by the government and others advocating patience and still others defending high savings rates. Today, Susan Weerts writes in Seeking Alpha that data coming out of China this month suggests that consumers there are — without any major need for a socio-cultural shift, spending more on consumer items. This may mean that more confidence in the Chinese economy on the part of the consumer could be largely responsible for more spending in major cities and markets there.

As Weerts writes, the strongest growth in July retail sales was found in furniture, motor vehicles and building/decoration materials, which grew at 42.5%, 32% and 25% respectively, year over year. This massive growth, Weerts proposes, should give luxury brands some cause for (tentative) celebration:

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China’s Secret Purchasing Powerhouse: Women

Female Luxury Shoppers Powering Growth Of Luxury Brands Throughout Country, From First To Third-Tier Cities

Shaun Rein sees the female demographic as one of the major drivers of luxury spending in China over the long term

Shaun Rein sees the female demographic as one of the major drivers of luxury spending in China over the long term

Shaun Rein, founder and managing director of the China Market Research Group, writes an interesting feature today for Forbes, focusing on female Chinese shoppers, and the continued growth that this demographic has shown in the face of the global recession. Although female luxury customers have largely cut back in traditional luxury markets like Japan and North America, spending remains strong in emerging markets like China, where luxury brands are still new to some second- or third-tier cities — where much of China’s sustained growth will center in coming years, as we have written before.

As Rein sees it, the urban female demographic shows great sustained potential because of the speed at which they have become choosy — rather than simply profligate — spenders. Chinese shoppers are increasingly purchasing luxury goods because they like them, and have developed stronger brand loyalty based on style or quality, rather than simply spending for spending’s sake. This is a good thing for major brands, many of which take unique advertising or marketing strategies for the Chinese market to carve out loyal niches. Obviously, this strategy is working, as Rein notes, “Women [in China] are becoming less price sensitive and more sophisticated about the brands and products that they finally buy.” Unlike many male shoppers in the Chinese market, who are less apt to shop around or develop strong brand loyalty — mainly choosing based on status (for automobiles, mainly) or price (see success of Ferragamo and other high-end men’s luxury apparel brands) — women are more likely to become brand “connoisseurs.”

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Macau: A Complex (And Exciting) Destination in the PRC

Macau, Having Already Surpassed Las Vegas As A Gambling Destination, Sets Its Sights On Cultural, Culinary Offerings To Lure Tourists

Macau has quickly established itself as the "Vegas of the East"

Macau has quickly established itself as the "Vegas of the East"

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Since its handover in 1999, Macau has rapidly become one of Asia’s top destinations for gambling, luring thousands of gamers from mainland China and Hong Kong. If Macau’s tourism department has its way, though, the city will soon be as renowned as a cultural destination as well — playing on its unique blend of Portuguese colonial and Chinese culture, architecture, and culinary traditions. Although construction of luxury apartments and casinos has slowed somewhat due to the global economic crisis, the city looks at the continuing growth of the Chinese tourist as a way to buoy a relatively sluggish tourism season.

Macau is unique in that it has, much like neighboring Hong Kong, combined two disparate cultures over the centuries to the point where they no longer seem distinct but instead form the one-of-a-kind Macanese culture. The city has also combined the entrepreneurial, fast-paced culture of China’s biggest cities with a fascinating mix of people, cultures, and languages, making this one of the world’s most exciting, truly global cities. The city has also become one of East Asia’s luxury hubs.

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