The New Consumers: Who Are They And What Do They Want?
To wit: personal spending on luxury goods in mainland China nearly doubled between 2009 and 2011 – to 13 billion euros, according to statistics from Bain and Company. And that’s not the whole picture: when you include Chinese shoppers in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan (where prices are lower) and Chinese tourists opening their wallets outside of Asia, the total Chinese luxury spend globally last year is nearly 40 billion euros.
China leads the pack but the rest of the BRICs are booming, too. Luxury goods sales in the Middle East increased 12 percent last year, Brazil saw a 50 percent increase, Russians bought more than 4 billion dollars’ worth of luxury last year. Consumption figures like these are not generated only by the super-rich.
“It’s not only the wealthy customers who are driving these demands,” INSEAD Professor of Organizational Behaviour Frédéric Godart told INSEAD Knowledge. “It’s a sociological phenomenon – the rise of the middle class. That’s when you start thinking of social status and what kind of goods you can buy to show your neighbour that you have some status. These customers want to express more: status and style.”