Chinese consumers buying luxury online, mostly just seeking bargain

By November 18, 2013
online luxury

There have been quite a few reports about Chinese luxury consumers, and here we would like to focus on the online luxury side and summarize some key points from two very useful studies.

A luxury survey study conducted in 2012 by a Chinese research house Fortune Character Group published in March 2013 indicated that:

Chinese Consumers "Main Media Sources of Acquiring Luxury Product Information" are:

  • 42% of them through magazine
  • 20% from product brochure
  • 5% from TV
  • 5% from newspaper
  • 5% from outdoor advertisement
  • 23% from online

Then online channel of acquiring luxury information can be further categorized into:

  • 65% via brand website
  • 13% via search engine
  • 12% via social network
  • 10% via e-commerce platform

In December 2012, McKinsey published its Chinese Luxury Consumer Survey and suggested that

A small but growing number of Chinese shoppers are venturing online to make luxury purchases, and a much larger group is using the Internet to browse

Three-quarters of those who have shunned the Internet as a channel for making luxury purchases cited concern about fake products as one of their top reasons.

For those who engage in it, online shopping is a form of arbitrage to seek price levels comparable to those overseas.

Consumers who bought online reported saving an average 32% on bags, 58% on suits, 36% on shoes, 37% on jewelry, and 47% on watches.

Overwhelmingly, they made purchases on websites such as; official manufacturer’s websites garnered only 4% of online purchases.

The online shopping experience almost invariably involves viewing of editorial comments by other users, celebrities and famous bloggers, which may heavily influence consumer behavior right at the point of the purchasing decision

Currently according to Alex, the top 5 luxury platforms ranked by Alex index in China should be:

1)       Vipshop 817

2) 5330

3)       Tianpin 7476

4)       FClub 11276

5)       iHush 18288

And Vipshop is specialized in the flash sale of luxury products, again for luxury bargain seekers in China.

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