Chinese men buy more luxury goods than Chinese women
The usual stereotype of the woman spendthrift, forcing her husband to do shopping is over in China. Indeed, Chinese men are finally biggest consumers of luxury goods than Chinese women. Armani suits, Rolex watches and Maserati cars, wealthy Chinese men have spent the equivalent of 7 billion yuans on their wardrobe in 2010 whereas women spent only 2.8 billion yuans (Bain report).
Each year, the market for luxury menswear increases in China, faster than women’s fashion.
The Chinese fashion market in some figures
According to Victor Luis, president of Coach Retail International in Shanghai, men represent 45% of $ 1.2 billion market for luxury handbags in China (see our article about Coach). In comparison, they are only 7% in the United States! This difference can be explained by the fact that Chinese men are very confident. In addition, they like to combine business with pleasure. In China, the handbag is essential for women and men.
Other very telling fact an according to Vinay Dixit from Mc Kinsey, Chinese men spent an average of 61% more than women in terms of perfumes. Similarly, they spent 52% more than women for watches.
The reaction of luxury brands is observed through the number of shops
Seeing this masculine craze for luxury, brands open more shops. Dior has about 35 stores in China while Burberry has decided to open 59 stores in 31 Chinese cities. In 2011, Louis Vuitton has 36 stores in 29 Chinese cities, against only 10 in 2005. The brand has already used for the first time an Asian male model named Godfrey Gao, in his advertising campaign of 2011.
The traditional luxury brands have therefore realized the male market’s potential. Today, the main preoccupation of these luxury homes is to meet this growing and different demand. Gucci, who had only six stores in 2006, has 39 stores. Hermes quadrupled its stores from 5 in 2005 to 20 in 2011.
Chinese men are more receptive to luxury than Western men
Luxury codes in China are very different from Western codes. The target male are more important for luxury brands because it is totally assumed. Indeed, for Chinese men, luxury is a niche of safety and quality. Luxury brands are seen as more reliable and refined. They symbolize success and offer access to comfort. Moreover, this vision is different in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany. Affluent consumers in these countries consider luxury spending as extravagant and flashy. For them, luxury could be discreet.
The difference between these both luxury consumers is deeper. Indeed, Chinese buyer of luxury goods such as young (under 45 years), educated, and especially entrepreneurial traveler. Luxury goods are often a symbol of their professional success. Luxury consumers in the West are much older.
Finally, the giant cosmetic L’Oreal now sell more cosmetics products to Chinese men as European men. In fact, the CEO of L’Oréal China has said that sales were up 11.1% in 2010 compared to the previous year, totaling 1.38 billion dollars.
Luxury products are more accessible
Before, even if Chinese men already bought more luxury goods than Chinese women, their habits were really different. They bought abroad during their business trip. Then, they brought these products as gifts to their wives, business partners or members of the government.
Today, their habits are quite different. Chinese men prefer to buy these luxuries to them to symbolize success. It is a reward for their work, but also a way to show they belong to a different and higher lifestyle than the average. See also the last trends of luxury.