HONG KONG: Chinese millennials expect to spend almost twice as much on luxury items in the next year as the average for their age group in Asia-Pacific, new research has shown.

MasterCard, the payments company, surveyed 2,272 millennials across 14 Asia Pacific markets and found that a typical millennial from China intended to spend US$4,362 on luxury goods, compared to the region's average of US$2,584.

South Korean millennials ranked second in the spending stakes but an anticipated outlay of US$2,638 put them far behind their (mainland) Chinese peers; Hong Kong millennials came in third on the regional average of US$2,584, Inside Retail Asia reported.

Tech items such as smartphones or tablets ranked high on the list of priorities of Asia Pacific millennials, with 25% planning to buy such a device in the next 12 months; 17% cited designer clothes and jewellery.

There were some distinct differences in brand preferences, MasterCard reported. More than half millennial shoppers in China, Vietnam, South Korea and Hong Kong preferred Western brands, for reasons of quality, value for money and brand loyalty.

But half of this age group in India would rather buy local. The "Make in India" program launched last year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi – in a campaign designed by Wieden+Kennedy – may be a factor here.

And a majority (61%) of Indonesian millennials preferred local brands. An Esomar paper noted how younger Indonesians were able to negotiate a balance between global influences and staying true to their cultural roots. "There are many examples of global trends being modified or localised in Indonesia," it said.

Bricks and mortar stores remain the overwhelming favourite place to buy luxury goods. Almost two thirds (64%) of respondents preferred this option while only 9% chose local ecommerce sites and 4% overseas sites.

And just over half of Chinese millennials were likely to buy a luxury item in-store while travelling overseas, more than twice the regional average.

Data sourced from Inside Retail Asia; additional content by Warc staff