SHANGHAI: Average spending by China's wealthiest people declined by 15% over the last year while the amount they spent on gift-giving has fallen by as much as 25%, the latest survey of China's high net worth individuals has found.

The Hurun Report's Chinese Luxury Consumer Survey 2014, the tenth annual survey from the Hurun Research Institute, revealed that average luxury spending fell from Rmb1.77m last year to Rmb1.5m this year.

With overall gift-giving also down by a quarter, the report suggested this was possibly due to the impact of anti-corruption initiatives and a slowdown in the economy.

However, even though the survey of 393 mainland Chinese with a personal wealth of Rmb10m or more ($1.6m or £1m) revealed a "dramatic" decline in gift-giving, Hurun also found their confidence in the Chinese economy has risen for the first time in five years.

Almost one-third (31%) expressed extreme confidence about prospects for the local economy over the next two years, driven in part by a steep fall in the number who are "not confident" about the economy – down to 3.3% this year from 10% last year.

For those still engaged in gift-giving, Hermès has replaced Louis Vuitton as the top brand for men while Chanel continued to be the preferred brand for women. Apple is the second most popular brand for men and the third for women.

For gifts under Rmb20k, red wine and watches are the preferred choices for men while women prefer jewellery, fashion and watches.

Collecting watches has decreased in popularity for the first time in five years and has been overtaken by collecting traditional Chinese calligraphy and paintings.

Elsewhere, Hurun found the UK was the preferred destination for secondary schools, slightly ahead of the US, whereas the roles reversed for university-level education with 36% favouring the US followed by the UK.

France, which has been the top international luxury travel destination for the past three years, lost its top slot to Australia while Dubai jumped from eighth to third place with Switzerland and the Maldives rounding out the top five.

Data sourced from the Hurun Report; additional content by Warc staff