The Chinese’s love affair with brand name luxury products is evident in stores, shopping malls, media reports, and by the sheer number of global luxury companies reporting strong profits this year because of strong Chinese consumption. China’s appetite for branded luxury products seem insatiable.
According to a recent China Youth Daily Social Survey of 2,290 respondents with 80% of them in their 20s and 30s, China’s infatuation with name brands, logos, and symbols is extremely strong. About 89 percent said those around them buy symbols represented by the goods rather than the goods themselves and 52 percent indicated they themselves have participated in conspicuous consumption.
What do name brands represent?
1. Economic strength (58%)
2. Taste and class (56%)
3. Social status (51%)
4. Popular fashion (45%)
5. Cultural essence (35%)
Those who are likely to engage in name brand consumption are the rich (74%), youth (67%), and the well-educated (30%) according to survey respondents.
Sun Feng, a professor from the Department of Sociology at Tsinghua University, believed that “people used to care more about the use value of commodities, but now prefer their symbolic value as commodities are no longer scarce.”
Brand names hold the highest value in the luxury (74%), fashion (61%), high-tech products (54%) and art (39%) categories.
About 64 percent of those survey believe that conspicuous consumption is motivated by sheer vanity, and more than 42 percent think that conspicuous consumption is irrational consumption, but 22 percent think it is very normal and entirely understandable.
More than half of them are concerned that infatuation with conspicuous consumption will lead to greater materialism. Sun cautioned that “the standards of judging whether or not one is successful and virtuous will become whether he or she can afford certain commodities. This idea will eventually lead people to become more and more materialistic.”
photo credit: louis vuitton