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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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