Chinese Connoisseurs Go Online To Research, Select Luxury Goods

November 30, 2012

This article is included in these additional categories:

Asia-Pacific | Brand Metrics | Digital | Retail & E-Commerce | Social Media

Luxury goods buyers in the Greater China Region (including Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan) heavily use the internet to make selections, making a sound online strategy imperative for marketers moving into that rapidly expanding market, according to [download page] Microsoft Advertising in November 2012 survey findings. 92% of respondents use online sources to learn about luxury products, and 81% to make a purchase decision. 72% use it for brand engagement, strongly agreeing that the internet is key to staying up-to-date with luxury brands. Finally, 82% plan to shop online in the next 12 months.

When they share their finds, Chinese luxury-goods consumers prefer to do so via instant message (used by 43%), followed by email (25%) and social networking sites (23%).

The researchers observed five distinct motivations among luxury goods consumers in the Greater China Region: to impress others; to feel superior by owning a luxury item; seeking quality; for sheer indulgence; and to enjoy the rich brand heritage.

Chinese consumers appear to enjoy brand identity. In September, InSites Consulting released a report on consumer collaboration with brands, and found that willingness among Chinese social media users to be the highest among the world’s consumers, and nearly universal (98% for brands, 96% for companies).

Taiwan Motivated By Quality, Hong Kong By Indulgence

Anecdotally, Mainland Chinese consumers were most motivated by sharing their finds, while consumers in Hong Kong were driven more by the indulgence of luxury goods. Taiwanese consumers were more motivated by a personal appreciation of product design and quality, as well as by brand heritage.

Those submarkets differed too in their tolerance of advertising. Just 54% of Hong Kong consumers said they would like to see more advertising of luxury goods, compared to 62% of consumers in Mainland China and 66% in Taiwan.

About The Data: Microsoft Advertising held an online forum over 7 days, then followed up with suitable candidates for interviews in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Respondents were aged 24-45, and had a minimum annual luxury goods spend of CNY 40,000/HKD 50,000/TWD 180,000 (about $6,500 USD at the time of this writing.)

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