The Situation of Face-Consumption Market in China?


In China, many people are willing to spend one-month salary to buy something, not for practical value, not for taste, not for quality but only for one thing: face.

Face consumption

It has been discovered that some Chinese people have found a new creative way to save face.
Some people who cannot afford top-brand products are buying paper bags with high-end brand names or logos to gratify their vanity. Some are even finding luxury labels, instruction books and receipts sold online.

gucci instruction book 3 rmb

gucci instruction book: 3 Yuan(0.5 USD)

These purchases, which are not for practical needs but merely to show off, are called “face consumptions.” “面子消费”.(Source: China drive)
A recent survey of some 1,100 people indicates from China Youth Daily that clothes, gifts and cars rank as the top three product categories in which “face consumption” occurs, followed by electronic goods, catering, liquor and tobacco, cosmetics and entertainment.
To dig deeper in this topic, face consumption in package, liquor and tobacco and furniture fields will be discussed because they reflect why and how Chinese are crazy about face consumption.


How to get a luxury bag with the least price? The solution is one highly-imitated bag + a receipt and a real paper bag. If you can get a instruction book, it will be even better. Now, you can find all the accessories of luxuries of all the brands from Hermes to Prada on Internet.

As a LV paper bag buyer said, “carry other brand goods than LV in an LV paper bag is like I have a real LV”. what another buyer “怦怦和皮皮” (Peng’peng He Pi’pi) said is more representative: “What I have purchased is not paper bag, but social status and face”

paper bags of luxuries

Liquor and tobacco

Face consumption is very popular in liquor and tobacco in China.
In the conference of People’s Congress in Shanghai, a new topic about prohibiting “Mao-tai” from government expense was put forward. Mao-tai is the symbol of luxury liquor in China. A bottle of ordinary Mao-tai costs over 2,000 Yuan while the cost is only 40 Yuan, as explained in Ifeng news .
What’s interesting is why and how Mao-tai becomes so popular?
In fact, mao-tai is usually ordered as drinks in important banquets, as gifts in some important business conference. As concluded by tobacco China, for Chinese people, it is very important to show your respect and your own value via the drinks you order. It has also become a pressure now that if somebody doesn’t order some good liquor or tobacco, he will be probably criticized.

In fact, many foreign liquor and tobacco brands have already discovered this and made efforts to enter the market. For example, nowadays, there’s more and more wine on Chinese people’s tables. In such important occasions like wedding ceremonies, business meetings, where Chinese people would like to spend money generously, wine is becoming more and more popular. More and more wine companies are promoting their wine on wedding website and exhibitions.

wedding wine online promotion

wine in wedding exhibition

read more about: How to brand your products as luxury brand in food and beverage industry?


Da Vinci Furniture Ltd famous for its luxury furniture claims all of its products were manufactured and imported from Italy and “made of high-class pollution-free wooden material”, according to the newspaper. But in fact, about 10 percent of the products sold as “imported” by Shanghai-based DaVinci Furniture were made in China, entry-exit inspection authorities said after examining customs records.

the boss of Davinci apologizes

Most of the furniture was first transported to Shanghai’s Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone before being sent to the company’s warehouse in Qingpu District. This is how the furniture changed from normal local products to crazy expensive Italy products.
It is the excessive devotion of Chinese to expansive goods which can give them face that makes them cheated so easily. That also explains why few customers ask for refund after the media exposure.
Da Vinci case indicates that if a real foreign company brands itself very well in China, it can grab a huge market. And we already have some companies here. One of them is Henry•Dai. As a Chinese company, Henry•Dai claims that 60% of their furniture is imported and the rest 40% is designed in US and produced in China. As noted by Mr. Ma, deputy manager that the key for creating a luxury furniture is the ever-strop efforts in branding.

In China, you can find the existence of face consumption in almost all the markets.
Many companies in China now are struggling with the price war with their competitors. But probably no company wants its customers to be price-sensitive. But imagine if your company understand face consumption habit of Chinese and take advantage of it, how easy your business can be?