The love affair between the Chinese and ‘western’ luxury brands is in full sail. Although spending is already high in the Big Apple and expected to increase, China is seeing a greater growth than absolutely anybody else

Chinese consumers will continue to represent a key factor for growth of the luxury market in 2014. This is the starting point of a study China Reality Check (2014) carried out by Exane BNP Paribas in collaboration with ContactLab.
The survey analyses relationship between consumers and high range clothing and accessories on two particularly developed and competitive markets, the metropolitan areas of Shanghai and New York. The research project of ContactLab is based on a representative sample of about a thousand residents in the two cities, people aged between 25 and 54. The interpretation of data gathered by Exane BNP Paribas focuses on behaviour of luxury goods buyers living in Shanghai. Results of the analysis only partly confirm the usual platitudes used to describe the habits of Chinese consumers and their passion for deluxe clothing and accessories.
The Chinese consumers interviewed confirm that they love luxury goods and pay much higher prices than their counterparts in the city of New York. This goes for both those in the same income group as the Americans interviewed and for those who earn less. It also emerges that the Chinese spend much more generally than western consumers, Europeans included. In the last twelve months, compared to New Yorkers consumers in Shanghai over one and a half times more for luxury clothes (1.5x) and shoes (1.4x) and more than double (2.3x) on designer bags. New Yorkers seem pretty much of the same opinion, in fact they declare they will pay 55% more for clothes, 5% for shoes and 48% for bags, nevertheless still behind the Chinese considering total spending.
An analysis of spontaneous knowledge of luxury brands on the part of Shanghai residents unearths a series of stereotypes: Exane BNP Paribas analysts in fact reveal evidence that interviewees still don’t seem to have developed a sophisticated approach to fashion, their spontaneous knowledge of big luxury names is limited compared to that of New Yorkers and focused on just a few brands well known to all. Talking of the most famous brands, when asked which come immediately to mind regarding luxury goods, the inhabitants of Shanghai first named Louis Vuitton, followed by Chanel and Gucci. Of the top 3 for New Yorkers, Gucci came first, followed by Coach and with Louis Vuitton in third place. In general New Yorkers show a more refined knowledge and greater savvy as regards premium brands.

The study can be consulted on