May 28th, 2020, Shanghai, China - "In China, Gen Z (i.e. post-95s) ranks first among the heavy luxury consumers who buy luxury goods every month, with more than 12 luxury items purchased each year!" This insightful conclusion comes from the Chinese Luxury Brand Consumers — A Generational, Gender and City-tier Analysis published today. On the day of the research report's release, Dr. Julie Laulusa, Managing Partner of Mazars China, the world's leading audit and advisory firm, invited a number of luxury industry heavyweights, including Mathieu Delmas, Managing Director of Piaget China, Stephane Wilmet, Chief Consumer Officer of L’Oréal China and Lawrance Shum, Chief Operating Officer of Galeries Lafayette China. Together, via a webinar, they share and explore the profound and thorough report which has researched on the luxury consumption views of four generations of Chinese consumers.
Although the majority of Chinese consumers have only been exposed to luxury goods for 40 years, China has grown to be the world’s second-largest luxury market. In order to gain an insight into the relationship between luxury consumption behaviors and their ages, values, lifestyles and social backgrounds of consumers of different ages in four generations, Mazars launched the survey at the end of 2019, exploring Chinese consumers’ definition of luxury goods, ways to obtain brand information, categories of products frequently purchased, frequency and channels of purchase, factors influencing purchasing decisions etc.. The team collected a total of 3,235 valid questionnaires covering Gen Z (under 24), Millennials (25-38), Gen X (39-54) and Baby Boomers (55-73). For businesses looking to have an in-depth knowledge of the psychology needs and habits of Chinese luxury consumers, Mazars provides a profound and thorough research report featuring the "profile of all generations of consumers".
In response, Dr. Julie Laulusa remarked that: "After years of business experience and in-depth study in China's luxury industry, we find that the difference of consumption habits and consumption views among four generations of luxury consumers is significant. Under the backdrop of post-90s and post-95s gradually becoming the main force of consumption in the Chinese market, we hope that such a research report covering all ages can contribute some insights for the luxury industry practitioners.”
Mr. Lawrance Shum, Chief Operating Officer of Galeries Lafayette China, made a similar point about the unlimited potential of post-95s in luxury consumption: “Post-95s are growing into a potential force of consumption that cannot be overlooked in the future luxury market. This is a very important inspiration for us. Therefore, although post-80s and post-90s are still the main consumers targeted by Galeries Lafayette, we also actively innovate in our store activities so as to win the favor of young consumers through rich activities and vivid forms.”
In addition to greater willingness to spend and stronger buying power, post-95s are recognized as the digital natives. They are naturally more willing to use digital channels to obtain luxury information and pay for digital marketing. And this was proved in Mazars' report. As shown in the survey, more and more consumers are using mobile phones as the main channel for accessing information and buying goods, with a utilization rate led by Gen Z, nearly 10 percentage points higher than that of Millennials.
Mr. Mathieu Delmas, Managing Director of Piaget China, believes that: “The luxury consumption concept of Chinese consumers is also maturing and evolving. Take Piaget for instance, we officially entered Tmall this year to better cater for the consumption habits of Gen Z. According to our observations, as the digital natives, Gen Z is more willing to make online shopping comfortably at home with the premise that what they buy are authentic brand products.”
In addition, the survey results show that, first-tier cities with nearly 80% of luxury consumers rank No.1 in terms of luxury purchasing power among the top 3 tiers of cities, followed by second-tier cities with impressive market prospect. And in third-tier cities, with the rapid urbanisation and the popularity of online and mobile shopping platforms, there have been an increasing number of luxury consumers.
Mr. Stephane Wilmet, Chief Consumer Officer of L’Oréal China, who attended the Webinar discussion, also had a profound understanding of this：The consumers in third- tier cities have same pursuit of life quality as consumers in first- and second-tier cities. They are willing to spend time and money, and also have enough disposable income to consume, especially on cosmetics, pan-entertainment and consumer goods.”
Although the COVID-19 outbreak has severely dragged down the global economic outlook in 2020, the Chinese luxury market have continued to perform well. From the luxury market having been slowly picked up since April to the promotions launched by brands during the holidays in May, consumption rebound in the post-pandemic period has become a hot topic. Various predictions suggest that China and Asia will lead the entire luxury market to get out of the slump. China is also expected to be the best performed luxury market in 2020. However, how to make Chinese consumers open their wallets under the new consumption normal, especially Gen Z consumers, is still an important challenge many luxury brand managers have to face.
In her concluding remarks to the webinar, Dr. Laulusa said: "Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z have become important supporters of luxury consumption in China. Their consumption views have gradually come into maturity. Consumers across different generations have their own preferences, and they are willing to try new things and embrace innovations. Based on the characteristics of the Chinese market, luxury brand practitioners should constantly revise their business strategies to keep pace with the changes in Chinese consumption concepts, and, importantly, to strike a balance between maintaining the unique essence of a luxury brand, cater to the market demand and adapt to the ever-changing social environment in China, thus gaining a bigger share in the fiercely competitive market.
The Chinese Luxury Brand Consumers — A Generational, Gender and City-tier Analysis has been officially published on Mazars' official website.
Marketing and Communication Manager, Marketing and Communication
As the impact of the epidemic stabilises in China, the domestic market is seeing a strong rebound in high-end consumption. Active in the second largest luxury market around the world, Chinese consumers are featured with strong capacity and high frequency of luxury consumption. China accounts for more than 33% of global luxury consumption – which is expected to rise to 40% by 2025. How to meet the expectations of this large and potentially diverse range of consumers is a key concern for forward-thinking market practitioners.