Why Do Chinese Tourists Buy So Many Luxury Products?
Whenever you ask a Chinese person why the Chinese love to buy Luxury items, the answer is quite often the same. When you can afford Luxury, why would you not buy Luxury? I often hear that Chinese customers buy for reasons of “face” (social status) and for gifting. It is true and certainly these reasons play a role in their decision to buy. But contrary to some perceptions, Chinese customers buy simply because Luxury products are superior. They buy those items that are not produced in China. They do not buy brands without consideration; they have an idea of what the best brands are and are simply buying the best (from the top ten watch brands or the top five cosmetic brands and so on).
Acknowledge that Chinese consumers buy brands and Luxury products just like you and me. They simply expect the best quality and brands are an easy way to guarantee that they received that quality. They are ready to pay a high sum for something China does not have, for example a particular tradition of watch and jewelry design or leather goods—a certain art of living. They are also convinced that having the best is key and it is simply a part of the way of life of the social elite. This comes from a long tradition when the imperial and the social elite’s main pleasure and occupation was to find the best to enjoy.
It is also necessary in China to show some success in order to gain social credibility. Gifting is also part of the hospitality culture; it is a way of expressing gratitude and is part of the social codes. Chinese consumers do not benefit from items and so on passed down through the generations or heritage. It is now that they are on their way to acquiring jewelry, watches and properties that they will be able to pass down to the next generation.
Chinese tourists also buy abroad because of tax reasons; their savings could reach 30% or more compared to local retail in China and you can understand that, with the tax savings on Luxury goods, they can quite literally cover the cost of their trip. They also buy for family and friends, and this is why they end up with such large shopping lists.