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Chinese to beat US as top luxury spenders

By Lu Nengneng (Shanghai Daily)

09:30, December 13, 2012

CHINESE mainland consumers will overtake US shoppers to become the top spenders in luxury worldwide this year, but sales in the domestic market are slowing as more people shop overseas where prices are lower, a consultancy report said yesterday.

One-fourth of luxury purchases globally are now made by Chinese mainlanders but luxury sales in the domestic market rose just 7 percent this year, Bain & Co said in a study.

The growth rate, which will be the lowest since the study began in 2006, points to a sharp contrast to the 30 percent surge in the domestic market last year as the trend toward overseas luxury shopping accelerates due to the euro's depreciation, Bain said.

Bain estimates mainland luxury shoppers will have spent 12 percent more in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan by the end of this year and 31 percent more overseas, all of which account for more than 60 percent of their total expenses of 306 billion yuan (US$48.9 billion) globally.

"The Chinese consumer has become a global consumer for luxury brands," said Bruno Lannes, a Bain partner based in China and the report's lead author. "Changes in what Chinese shoppers want are now a central issue for the global luxury sector's largest brands."

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