SHANGHAI — High net worth Chinese did less shopping last year against a backdrop of slowing economic growth and a sweeping anti-graft campaign initiated by China’s new leadership, according to a new luxury consumer survey.
Spending by high net worth Chinese declined 15 percent year-on-year in 2013 while gift spending in particular was down 25 percent, according to Hurun Report’s Chinese Luxury Consumer Survey 2014. Hurun, China’s answer to Forbes magazine, released the survey’s results Thursday.
The magazine surveyed 393 millionaires, or individuals worth at least $1.6 million, from 23 provinces. Of those surveyed, 69 were classified as “super rich,” or individuals with wealth of $16 million.
For the first time since Hurun began the survey a decade ago, Hermes replaced Louis Vuitton as the preferred brand for gifting by men, the study said. LV came in third on that list, behind Apple. Chanel is first for preferred brands for gifting by women while LV is the second most preferred luxury brand. Apple came in third place.
In terms of general luxury shopping, Giorgio Armani ranked first among men while Chanel was the most popular with women. Hermes is the most popular accessory brand among both men and women.
Leather accessories were the most popular gifting item overall. Expensive jewelry was not as popular. Tiffany & Co., Montblanc and Cartier all ranked lower in 2013 as preferred brands for gifting.
The survey also revealed a shift in rich Chinese individuals’ hobbies, with ancient Chinese art collecting overtaking watch collecting in overall popularity for the first time in five years, the report said; however the more exclusive “super rich” segment still prefer watch collecting with Patek Philippe ranking as the most popular brand.
Red wine and watches are the preferred gift for men under 20,000 yuan, or about $3,300, while women prefer to give jewelry, fashion and watches. Gifting of travel vouchers and healthcare products were the fastest growing categories, the study said. For jewelry collectors, Cartier ranked first for the 10th consecutive year as the most popular brand.
While the survey found that three out of 10 respondents are confident in China’s economy over the next two years, it also found that 64 percent of China’s high net worth individuals have already emigrated or are planning to emigrate to another country. The United States is still the top destination yet Europe is also growing in popularity for relocation.
For luxury travel destinations, Australia overtook France as the number one destination for the first time in four years. Sanya, a beachfront city in southern China, Macau, Hong Kong, Tibet and Yunnan Province are the most popular domestic destinations. Yet the rich allocated more time for business travel last year, resulting in a 20 percent decline in time for leisure activities.