Asian affluents lure luxury brands

01 September 2011

HONG KONG: The number of wealthy consumers is set to more than double in Asia during the coming five years, offering considerable opportunities for luxury brands.

Julius Baer, the private bank, partnered with CLSA, the brokerage, to assess the impact rapid economic growth may have on key markets across the region.

Overall, the two companies estimated the amount of high net worth individuals in Asia stood at 1.2m in 2010, with this group boasting a combined wealth of $5.6tr.

Looking forward, it was predicted that the number of people in this demographic would reach 2.8m in 2015, claiming a cumulative value of $15.8tr.

More specifically, the fast-growing economies of China and India are expected to contribute over 40% of growth, cementing their position as major targets for marketers.

China alone could house 1.4m high net worth individuals by 2015, when this group will hold assets of $8.8bn, the report argued.

Elsewhere, Indonesia was pegged to deliver the highest growth rate, with the density of affluent consumers predicted to rise by 25% over five years to 99,000 people, worth a projected $487m, by 2015.

Currency appreciation may also play a central role, with the strengthening of currencies in Asia possibly creating an additional 600,000 millionaires, in dollar terms, by 2015.

Separately, Julius Baer monitored a basket of 20 luxury goods and services representing "discretionary purchases" for wealthy shoppers, based on data from Hong Kong, Mumbai, Shanghai and Singapore.

The company revealed the price of these items had climbed by 11.7% on an annual basis, suggesting inflation could be a primary influence on Asian "luxury lifestyles" in the future.

Indeed, this expansion easily outpaced the 5.1% increase logged by the consumer price index during this period, which has struck other sectors such as food and packaged goods.

As reported earlier this year, figures from the Hurun Research Institute showed a selection of popular high-end products had seen prices rise by 7.7% in China over the 12 months to June 2011.

Data sourced from Julius Baer; additional content by Warc staff