Ruder Finn Asia conducts in-depth analysis of consumer perceptions, purchasing patterns and evolving engagement with luxury brands and their communications in greater China. The results are published in the annual China Luxury Forecast, which has been regularly quoted in international media as a benchmark for the luxury industry in greater China.
2015 Forecast Summary
Unchanged Market Dynamics, Noticeable Shift in Consumption Patterns
- Overall market dynamics are unchanged and consumer confidence remains high, despite the slowdown observed by many luxury brands in the China market
- In mainland China, demand for luxury remains strong – particularly in first tier cities
- Hong Kong luxury consumers continue to pursue innovative products and design.
- Travel is now the number one category of luxury for Chinese consumers, and spending by Chinese travelers is expected to drive more growth in luxury markets outside China.
- Consumers are primarily looking to spend on luxury goods and services for themselves and their families.
- Duty free shopping is becoming a leading distribution channel for luxury goods,
- Consumers are dissatisfied with luxury retail services in mainland China.
Challenges & Opportunities for Luxury Brands Online
- There is an increase in willingness to purchase luxury goods online but concerns over service, trust, and overall professionalism of the web supplier still prevail
- Online shoppers still prefer to visit physical stores before deciding on a purchase
- Social media is now a well-established channel of communication for consumers
- News about products, promotions and discounts generated the most discussion on social media.
- The rise of e-commerce represents both the next major challenge and opportunity for luxury brands.
2014 Forecast Summary
The mainland China luxury market is maturing and closing the gap with Hong Kong
- Consumers are willing to spend more on fashion and beauty.
- The demand for luxury is still strong, particularly in fashion and beauty.
- There is an increasing sophistication among consumers, as well as a growing demand for uniqueness and broader knowledge of brands and products.
Lower service quality on the mainland remains a key motivation driving overseas purchases
- A stronger preference in shopping for watches and wine in Europe, and buying jewelry, handbags and beauty products in Hong Kong.
- Consumers shop overseas due to experiences with poorer customer service and staff knowledge.
Trust is key to unlocking the true potential of e-commerce in China
- Consumers are showing greater confidence in making luxury purchases online although brand boutiques remain the most popular channel of purchase.
- Consumers are getting information on luxury brands from mobile apps.
- In mainland China, consumers are willing to receive push notifications from brands via mobile platforms.
- Hong Kong consumers are only willing to receive push notifications from brands to which they are loyal
2013 Forecast Summary
A slowing trend is seen in future spending for luxury categories such as jewelry, watches and handbags
- Louis Vuitton leads the all-European group of top 10 luxury brands in China.
- Social media plays a more important role in influencing consumers.
- There is still room for luxury brands to grow in online platforms, including websites and mobile apps.
- China has gained more attention as a destination for buying luxury items from Europe and Hong Kong.
2012 Forecast Summary
Mainland Chinese consumers expressed the greatest consumer confidence. China will continue to lead the growth of the global luxury market in the coming years
- Status is the key driver for luxury purchases.
- Luxury buyers prefer well-established luxury brands.
- Consumers are more open to luxury online shopping.
- Consumers tend to compare price and wait for a better deal. They travel frequently outside mainland China to buy luxury products.
2011 Forecast Summary
China's luxury consumers are increasingly motivated by good taste and enjoyment of owning luxury items or having luxury experiences
- Mainland China’s culture of gift-giving remains a distinctive feature of the luxury market.
- Honesty, product knowledge and a friendly attitude are vital for sales advisors.
- Continuing global economic turmoil is having limited impact on luxury purchase intentions.
- Global market leaders also hold top positions in China.
- Corporate social responsibility is starting to influence luxury consumers.
- Consumers are willing to consider buying luxury online.
- Online communications is growing in importance for luxury brands.
2010 Forecast Summary
Consumers will not let the global economic downturn affect their purchases of luxury goods or change their preferred categories
- Consumers are confident about their future purchasing power.
- The gap between tier 1 and tier 2 luxury markets is smaller than anticipated.
- Traditional media remains an essential communications tool for the Chinese luxury market but the increasing use of Internet technology is changing the rules.
- International luxury brands that tapped into the mainland Chinese market as early as the 1990s today remain on top despite the more competitive market.
- While Hong Kong remains the main luxury hub in China, Shanghai is becoming a luxury hub in its own right.