HK losing luxury shopping appeal

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 July, 2012, 12:00am


Mainland shoppers are increasingly buying luxury goods locally, turning away from high-end stores in Hong Kong and abroad, according to a survey by a communications company.

The survey of 1,135 people showed consumers in first-tier mainland cities preferred to do their luxury shopping locally when buying five of seven product groups tagged as luxury - namely watches, cosmetics, clothing, shoes, and wine and cigars.

This compares with the results of last year's survey that showed that most consumers in cities like Beijing and Shanghai said they preferred to buy big-brand items at home in only three categories.

Hong Kong remains the preferred shopping destination only when it comes to jewellery and handbags, although prices of all luxury goods are generally more expensive across the border because of higher taxes.

Luxury brands have been expanding rapidly on the mainland, making it easier for local customers to do their shopping without having to go elsewhere.

New shops have been opening up across the country, especially in second- and third-tier cities.

This trend is reflected in the study, with many respondents in such cities ticking the mainland as their first choice for all categories of luxury goods.

The survey was conducted in June by global communications firm Ruder Finn Asia and market research company Ipsos. Consumers with an annual income of more than 100,000 yuan (HK$122,600) were asked about their shopping habits for luxury goods.

'In the past 12 months, the luxury market has been going strong but we see consumers are cautiously planning for the next year because of the economic news they keep reading about. This could lead to a relative slowdown,' Ipsos executive director Simon Tye said.

'But they will not stop shopping. They will just be buying different luxury items.'

Around 54 per cent of respondents said they would spend less on high-end watches next year, while 48 per cent said they had plans to cut spending on luxury jewellery and handbags.

Louis Vuitton was the respondents' top luxury brand, named by 39 per cent, followed by Chanel, at 17 per cent. Seven per cent picked Gucci, Hermes had 6 per cent and Christian Dior, 5 per cent.

The poll also found that about 45 per cent of respondents used social media, including the wildly popular Twitter-like weibo, to find out about luxury products. About 10 per cent of luxury items were bought on the internet, with the figure rising to 17 per cent for cosmetics.

The Hong Kong Retail Management Association said last month that mainland tourists had been spending less on their trips to the city, resulting in a significant drop in sales of high-end jewellery and expensive gifts in past months.


The year-on-year growth in spending in Hong Kong by mainland tourists in May