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Chinese luxury shoppers seek novelty

News, 07 September 2015

SHANGHAI/NEW YORK: Price is the primary consideration for most Chinese tourists shopping overseas for luxury goods, but many are also looking for things they can't get at home.

Albatross Global Solutions, a market researcher focused on premium and luxury brands, surveyed 180 affluent Chinese travellers, asking what influenced their brand choices when shopping abroad.

Seven in ten (72%) cited low prices but more than half also wanted local authenticity (58%) and products unavailable in China (56%).

Slightly fewer valued Chinese-speaking sales assistants (51%) and superior in-store service (51%).

"Chinese luxury consumers seek more than just a transactional encounter at the point of sale while traveling," said Javier Calvar, COO at Albatross Global Solutions, Shanghai.

"They want an in-store experience that is positive, relevant and memorable," he told Luxury Daily.

"A distinctive, positive shopping experience will also drive advocacy back home, leading to further sales at home and abroad," he added.

And advocacy is especially important among this group, as advertising plays only a small role in driving brand selection.

When deciding on what brands to buy on a trip, luxury consumers are far more likely to be influenced by friends or family (70%) or to have already bought a particular brand (60%).

Online research (56%) and visiting a local store (45%) were also important. Advertising, in contrast, was a factor for only 22% of those surveyed.

But while these consumers were devising pre-trip buying strategies they were also open to unplanned purchases depending on their shopping experience – they could be swayed by an interesting store environment and the recommendation of a sales associate.

Around seven in ten respondents admitted they had bought more items and spent more money than they had originally intended.

On other hand, 44% said they had not made a planned purchase because of an unhelpful sales assistant; and 31% had not bought something if they found the store environment unappealing.

Calvar did not expect that the current stock market turmoil would have a significant impact on Chinese luxury consumers as few were dependent on investments, although he did anticipate a short-term sense of uncertainty.

Data sourced from Luxury Daily; additional content by Warc staff