No, Chinese shoppers haven’t found the fountain of youth. According to some reports, 45 percent of Chinese luxury consumers are between the ages of 18 and 34.
Because of China’s burgeoning economic development in recent years, younger people now have more money to spend than older people, either because they have earned it in expanding job fields or because their parents are able to support them more lavishly.
“Luxury items have created a high-end market for China that can promote related industries, create employment and raise fiscal income for the country,” Zhou Ting, executive director of the Luxury Goods Research Center at the Beijing-based University of International Business and Economics. “But young Chinese have not been so sensible in consuming top brands.”
That’s because young Chinese are more interested in conspicuous consumption than finding heirloom pieces or developing personal tastes. “I think luxury items do, to some degree, reflect my high-end taste,” said Shi Yuzhou, a college senior studying in the US. “The value of luxury items lies not in their durability, but their style. And they make decent gifts.”
According to Zhou, “Conspicuous consumption is the greatest motivation for young people to buy high-end goods, a factor that is promoted by the brands themselves. However, the social problems created by conspicuous consumption lie not in the goods themselves, but in the pattern of consumption.”