The Balance of Luxury
Luxury has long been linked to exclusivity but as material wealth becomes more accessible to the average person in our consumerist society, does our desire to convey that we live a life of luxury grow with it? A life of luxury is considered by many as the ‘easy’ life, not a care in the world… the ability to spend money without any real repercussions. But when we live in a society, especially in Shanghai, where image means everything, maybe luxury and wealth don’t mean an easy life. Maybe luxury is now a life for the superficial. This month at ‘That’s it’ we’re exploring what wealth means in China today and how the luxury market is adapting to a growth in wealth.
Having the latest luxury goods is considered very important to the ‘rich up-comers’ of China; they make up 22% of Chinese luxury shoppers. Its all about showing off, being trendy, the experience and enjoyment that wealth can get you and being the connoisseur of the latest trend, showing an understanding of what luxury is. This growth in wealth throughout China is making it an incredibly interesting place to live, your dreams surely become more attainable… the ‘Chinese Dream’. In 2016 Chinese millennials made up 66.13% of gold sales in China and 68% of all diamond jewellery sales. Some may consider this ridiculous, why are millennials choosing to spend their money on this and luxury goods… but it really is all about image in China. It’s also about how brands choose to tap into the market, research showed that the average consumer on luxury e-commerce sites in China is aged 30 and the age bracket most prominently seen on these sites is 23-37. All signs point to a need to convey your best self. An easy explanation would be the simple desire to show off and keep up with your friends, if one friend in your circle has the latest Givenchy bag why shouldn’t you have it?
Wealth is clearly growing in China and across the world. Singles day last month broke online records. At 00:15 there had already been $5 billion sales and Alibaba racked up $25.35 billion sales total, up 39% from last year. Black Friday last week in the US saw $5.03 billion sales online in the US. The Chinese market is clearly one that companies should be trying to tap into, one website alone made 5x the amount than the biggest discount day the West has. China is the place to be… it’s exciting and it’s innovative. Last month also saw Tencent surpass Facebook in the USD market, so it’s clear that the market of China is looking to dominate. Luxury companies would do well to make the move to becoming more ‘accessible’ in China. Céline is one of the first western fashion houses to create an official WeChat account, keeping their readers up to date with articles. It’s a way for them to stay in the loop, to constantly be on the mind of the Chinese millennial. It’s a clever move, the life of luxury is what so many aspire to here!
Bitcoin also holds an interesting future as a source of wealth, not just in China but worldwide! This last week it broke records becoming worth $10,000 in value, this is up 10 fold since the start of 2017. But having said that, it really is an adrenaline-seeking ride, after briefly exceeding $11,000 it dropped in value by 20% within 24 hours. So with it being so volatile what does the future of Bitcoin hold? This invisible, futuristic currency has gone from being dismissed to being a currency to be reckoned with, the $10,000 mark acting as a sign of ‘celebrity-endorsement’. If you’re dying to know more about this virtual currency, look no further. This month we have Zia writing a Bitcoin101 guide for us… so stay tuned!
Luxury obviously isn’t all about the latest trends… it’s supposedly living your best life. Luxury hotels, luxury goods, and luxury products the list goes on. But inevitably you need wealth to acquire this lavish lifestyle; it’s not for everyone. But as this market grows perhaps the exclusivity of luxury is on the decline and more people can live a ‘wealth’ lifestyle. But then again wealth isn’t just money related you can have a wealth of ‘experience’; so what one would you choose?
And... That's it!