With luxury spending slowing, China’s ultra-wealthy can’t sustain the country’s luxury market alone. However, the success of retailers that target China’s young, trendy, and not-so-wealthy consumers indicates that a new demographic is ready to carry China’s luxury market.
These HENRYs — “high earners, not rich yet” — are young Chinese professionals who pride themselves on their individuality, shunning flashy labels and the “secretary” look, according to Reuters. These buyers take their fashion cues from social media and prefer to buy from multi-brand e-tailers, such as Shangpin.com and Italy’s Yoox, trendy boutiques, and high-end department stores, including Lane Crawford and Galeries Lafayette.
Yoox’s international markets director Luca Martines revealed that Chinese between the ages of 25 and 35 are the site’s biggest spenders, often mix matching niche labels with mainstream luxury. Celine and 3.1 Phillip Lim are among the most popular niche luxury brands with young Chinese consumers as well as mid-market luxury brands such as Tory Burch, Michael Kors, and Longines. The more high-end brands in China, including Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Cartier, have been left out in the cold.
“The Chinese consumer is now more educated and less conformist, which means they are less inclined to look like a secretary and go for luxury brands that are overdeveloped,” said Lionel Roudaut, the head of fashion design and textile at LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore. He added, “The Internet has also given them access to products not available before.”
image credit: michael kors