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Changing tastes of China’s wealthy cripple global luxury sales

Chinese luxury spending


Over the past decade, Chinese consumers have been the largest buyers of luxury products in the world, accounting for around a third of all luxury purchases.

过去10年来,中国消费者成长为世界上最庞大的奢侈品购买群体,消费了全球三分之一左右的奢侈品。

 

With a new billionaire minted every week in the past six months, and a doubling to over one million millionaires since 2010, many expected the luxury boom to continue in China. Yet the exact opposite has happened.

过去半年来,中国每个星期会出现一位新的亿万富翁;自2010年以来,中国百万富翁人数翻了一倍,突破100万人大关。于是,许多人预测说中国的奢侈品热潮还将持续下去。可惜事与愿违。

 

Chinese luxury spending growth has actually declined in the past twelve months, according to an estimate by my companyChina Market Research Group.

据中国市场研究集团测算,在过去12个月里,中国奢侈品消费额的增速已经下滑了。


Prada announced a 44% profit drop in the second quarter of 2015 due to slowing China sales, and French luxury group Kering, which owns Gucci, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney, saw sales drop 10% in the first quarter in Asia-Pacific.

意大利奢侈品牌普拉达表示,由于中国区销售情况不佳,公司2015年二季度利润缩水44%。拥有古驰、亚历山大·麦奎因、斯特拉·麦卡特尼等品牌的法国开云集团发现,今年一季度亚太区销售额减少了10%。

 

Many analysts point to President Xi Jinping's corruption crackdown for the profitability decline. Are they right?

许多分析师认为,利润下降源于反腐运动。真是这样吗?


Corruption has played a part but the sales drop is not due solely to the corruption crackdown — the drop is a product of changing Chinese consumer tastes as people shift from buying tangible items to experiences.

反腐确实有一定影响,但销量下降并非完全是反腐造成的——销售额下滑是中国人的消费偏好发生变化的结果,人们正在从购买有形物品转向购买人生阅历。

 

Brands need to adjust to this new reality.

品牌必须根据这一新情况做出调整。

 

For example, my firm interviewed several dozen wealthy Chinese worth $12 million each this past year. Respondents said they no longer gain status by buying expensive handbags. Rather, they gain status by buying a third or a fourth home overseas in places like California or Sydney or by going on a once-in-a-lifetime, exotic trip — like wine tasting in France.

举例来讲,中国市场研究集团在过去一年里采访过数十位身家达到1200万美元的中国有钱人。这些受访者表示,他们不再通过购买昂贵的包包来彰显身份了。这些人转而通过其他方式体现其社会地位,包括在加利福尼亚、悉尼等地购买第三套或者第四套寓所,或是踏上一生一次的异域旅行,比如来一场法国品酒之旅。

 

Sharing these experiences with friends on social media site WeChat is the new status symbol in China, not buying the latest Louis Vuitton luxury bag. The first area expected to see major growth is international travel. Chinese want to go where other Chinese have never been before.

在中国,与好友在微信等社交媒体上分享此类经历(而不是购买最新款路易威登包包)成了一种新的身份标志。多个领域有望因此获得长足的发展;首先是出国旅游。中国人希望去那些从未被其他中国人涉足的地方。

 

Last year, I interviewed a billionaire at a six-star hotel in Dubai. Despite the splendor of the hotel, the woman looked depressed and glum. When I asked her why, she told me that there were "too many Chinese around." She wanted to go to a place that few Chinese had ever been before so she could share that experience with her friends on WeChat.

去年,一位亿万富豪在迪拜一家六星级酒店接受采访。尽管酒店极尽奢华,但这位女士看起来很郁闷。她表示是因为“周围有太多中国人”。她希望到一个很少有中国人去过的地方,这样就能与微信好友分享这段经历。

 

Chinese are now actively pursuing once-in-a-lifetime adventures. They go on safaris in Africa and stay at ultra high-end lodges like Singita. They even travel to Antarctica. In fact, China is becoming one of the fastest growing markets for tourism there, with more than 2,300 tourists having traveled to the Antarctic Circle from mainland China during November 2011 to March 2012.

中国人正在积极追求各种一生一次的探险活动。他们去非洲考察,住在最顶级的旅舍里。他们甚至去了南极。事实上,中国正在成为南极旅游业务发展最快的市场之一,从2011年11月到2012年3月已有2300多名中国内地游客造访过南极圈。

 

Chinese are also the single biggest per capita spenders on tourism in the U.S., and they were the biggest spenders during the 2012 Olympics in London.

中国游客在美国的人均消费额同样位列各国榜首,他们在2012年伦敦奥运会期间的消费额也是最高的。

 

In addition to travel, Chinese are looking to buy items that are one of a kind. For instance, Chinese currently drive the high-end art market sale globally. Wang Jianlin, the richest man in Asia with a fortune worth more than $35 billion, recently bought a Picasso painting for $28.2 million at auction. Wang Zhongjun, who founded Huayi Brothers with his brother Wang Zhonglei, bought a Van Gogh masterpiece for $62 million.

除旅游外,中国人还希望购买到独一无二的物品。比如,中国人眼下正在推高全球高端艺术品市场的销售额。身家超过350亿美元的亚洲首富王健林就斥资2820万美元,通过竞拍购得西班牙艺术家毕加索的一幅名画。华谊兄弟创始人之一王中军则花费6200万美元,买下荷兰画家梵高的一件大作。

 

Chinese are no longer buying items just to show off. It is more about a mix of investment and showing off, and they are concerned about lifestyle.

中国人买东西不再单纯为了炫耀。他们更多地将投资与炫耀结合起来。他们现在很看重生活方式。

 

Wealthy Chinese now spend money on experiences and unique items rather than luxury products.

现在,中国有钱人乐于把钞票花在人生体验和独特的物品上,而不是奢侈品。

 

Many people blame the corruption crackdown, but the decline in profitability of sales of luxury items is really about consumers becoming more sophisticated.

尽管许多分析师都在反腐运动上找原因,但奢侈品销售利润之所以下滑,真的是因为消费者变得更加成熟了。


Brands need to understand these recent trends in Chinese consumer tastes and adjust their strategy accordingly.

品牌应当了解中国人消费偏好的最新发展潮流,相应地调整自己的策略。

2016-06-24

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