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- 6 Apr 2016
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Asian Luxury Markets: Where Is The New Focus?

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Amrita Banta of Agility Research – a discussion leader in this week’s New York Times Luxury Conference – reveals highlights of recent study on how luxury products are being purchased by consumers across Asian markets.

Consumer incomes have been growing steadily in many markets across South East Asia making them important focus areas for luxury brands that are seeing their sales growth struggle in developed markets like China and HK.

At the end of 2015, Agility ran a survey in the region to understand what is the general outlook for spending on luxury and how luxury products are being purchased by consumers across Asian markets. In the research we looked at 12 key markets in Asian and interviewed over 2,400 luxury consumers. Below we share some of the key findings.


 India is one of the brightest spots in Asia, with steady economic growth surpassing that of China 


Where is the Growth in Luxury Spending?

We are seeing India as one of the brightest spots in Asia, with steady economic growth surpassing that of China, and with a large pool of consumers with a growing appetite for luxury products. In our survey Indian luxury consumers demonstrated the highest likelihood to increase their spending on luxury (see Figure 1).

China obviously remains the largest market for luxury brands but there are smaller markets in SEA, specifically Vietnam and Thailand, both of which are quite upbeat about future spend on luxury.

There are also many markets where there is a smaller proportion of those who are planning on increase in their luxury spending than there are those who are not; Korea is at the top of this list.


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Figure 1. “Looking ahead to 2016, and comparing it to 2015, please rate how strongly you agree with each of the following statements”; Base: All respondents, n=2,402; Source: Agility Affluent Insights 2015.


How Are Luxury Purchases Being Made In 2016?

Buying luxury through digital channels keeps growing in the region, and India emerges as the clear leader in purchasing luxury online and also using mobile phones (see Figure 2), well ahead of China.

We expect Japan and China to also score high on popularity of online purchasing, but Vietnam and Thailand emerge as markets that have also been quick to adopt online luxury purchasing, and they are ahead of most other markets in the region in terms of using mobile phones to both research and purchase luxury products.


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Figure 2. “Please rate how strongly you agree with each of the following statements” – top-2-box Agree; Base: All respondents, n=2,402; Source: Agility Affluent Insights 2015.


Another, notable characteristic is that almost 1 in 2 Indian luxury consumers buy luxury products primarily when traveling (see Figure 4), and the same can be said for 2 in 5 in Thailand and Vietnam.


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Figure 3. “Please rate how strongly you agree with each of the following statements” – top-2-box Agree; Base: All respondents, n=2,402; Source: Agility Affluent Insights 2015.


What Does this Mean for Luxury Brands?

Consumers in some of the established Asian markets for luxury goods are not showing great promise for the near future.

It is therefore important to evaluate other markets that display potential in the region. India, Vietnam and Thailand are three markets that are worth a closer look. In these markets we are seeing that consumers have been quick to adapt to purchasing luxury online, and making purchases when travelling is also widespread.

These behaviours may not have developed completely naturally, meaning that the availability of luxury brand stores in these countries may have moulded consumer behaviour, but regardless, they indicate that a large portion of luxury consumers in these markets can be served through online and travel retail, possibly limiting the need for a widespread local brick and mortar presence.





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Amrita Banta is Managing Director at Agility Research & Strategy. Agility Research & Strategy is a World Class Research and Consulting company with a core focus on the Affluent and Luxury Consumers for premium brands. Affluential, powered by Agility is a leading consumer intelligence portal helping brands engage with Affluent consumers in more than 20 key economies across the United States, Europe and Asia.

www.agility-research.com