The Chinese luxury market is set to grow exponentially, but experts have warned brands and retailers against over-reliance on the country.
Speaking at the Walpole British Luxury Summit on Greater China in London, Anson Bailey, principal of business development at KPMG, said China had seen a 47% rise in sales of luxury goods over the past 10 years.
“China will account for 20% of the global luxury market, with sales reaching $27bn (£16.7bn) by 2015,” he said.
“A Chinese high-net-worth individual is a lot younger than in Western countries. The average age of a Chinese millionaire is 39.”
Online shopping remains an untapped channel, Bailey said. “It only accounts for 1.3% of sales and is set to expand at a rapid pace, with 1 billion mobile phone subscribers in China.”
Mier Ai, managing director of Hearst Magazines China, said there are 513 million Chinese internet users, accounting for only 38% of the population. “The potential [of the internet] is huge. Weibo (China’s version of Twitter) has 250 million users, which is a 300% growth since 2010,” he said.
But others warned luxury businesses not to rely too heavily on China. “Brands need to grow in all markets,” said Ben Elliot, co-founder of concierge service Quintessentially.