Chinese entrepreneurs and consumers increasingly understand that a luxury lifestyle should complement, not exclude, their heritage. A new movement has to gradually introduce China’s own age of luxury.
I was on my way to give a conference in Shanghai for the Pan China Luxury Panel as my luggage was lost because a strike of Finnair, I asked my friends to take me shopping. I was very surprised to discover that on Nanjing Road, I only encountered Chanel, Gucci, and many other French and Italian brands. I looked at my friends, and said « Where is Chinatown? » (I made a joking reference to the ubiquitous presence of foreign brands) They started laughing and simultaneously proclaimed « But you are in China »! Besides these internationally recognized brands, it was nearly impossible to find a locally owned boutique boasting China’s own essence of luxury. This brings me to ask… « Where is China, where is Chinese luxury? »
For the Western economy, China is the key. If the EU and the US are in a deep recession Brazil, India and China are the next coming markets. EU studies estimated China to become the leading luxury market by 2015 … with more than 10 millions consumers.
By 2015, China will be the largest luxury market in the world: growing from an estimated 12% of sector sales today to over 30% and contributing 75% of sector growth over this period. This implies a CAGR of 25% (2009e-15e).
The word Luxury did not exist in Chinese. It is in 1997 that Comity Colbert gave to China its own translation of Luxury: “ming pai” (famous brand) or “guo ji da pai” (famous international brand) .
If the whole world is actually “made in China”, Chinese investors and entrepreneurs understand that today luxury does not just mean “international brands.”
China’s New Luxury will harbor a sense of heritage and authenticity, demanding competitive quality and experience; there must be a new code for luxury to not only stimulate a new global acceptance of China’s products, but also change the face of the Chinese economy from within. New luxury is quality, and heritage. This movement reinforces a notion of smart perfection- demanding the best quality and experience but with no additional costs to society and the environment. China has a brilliant millenary culture, enhanced by a fast-developing responsibility to lead current trends in the world marketplace. With this knowledge and capability, China could define the next generation of luxury.
Essential Luxury Philosophy will become an important marketing tool
From creativity to the need of perfection, from respect of health to respect of the environment, authentic luxury is becoming very much in fashion in China. In response to this insistent consumer’s need, companies will have to change fast their priority to get in tune with a new luxury code, the «Essential Luxury».
Green is the best way to go forward in China. Green hotels, Slow Food, Natural Perfumes, The Luxury Code, launched on December 2009 by Richard Ding, CEO of Top Retailing in Shanghai during the CCFA Pan China Luxury Retailing Panel, received a gigantic success amongst the press and investors.
The Luxury Code is based on the real meaning of Luxury. Its origins comes from Latin «lux» means light, luxury enlightens, shedding light on things and on life. Essential luxury gives to the human being the possibility to forget his mortal condition of life and touches his soul and brings it to enlightenment. This absolute luxury lets him be in harmony with himself it offers him a positive emotion and a feeling of wellbeing. Happiness is not in the accumulation of goods or material belongings but in the quality and the memory of happiness time it brings to us. And at the end of life what will stay: only memories.
From generic production to one-of-kind perfection, from respect of individual health to respect of the global environment, authentic luxury is very rare nowadays. The internationalization of products, services, and ideals has by nature become increasingly competitive, and yet arguably detrimental to a global standard of life. Social, cultural, political, and environmental responsibility must become a priority of modern-day companies. In response to chaotic global changes and consequently a complex consumer demand, companies must become in tune with a new paradigm, an upgraded framework, a luxury code.
Luxury is qualified by exclusive material goods and more importantly by a particularly unique lifestyle. Essential Luxury is a new mindset, creating an opportunity for us all to transcend the human condition and strive for wellbeing and holistic enlightenment through innovative products, and socially responsible lifestyle. This absolute luxury enables us to tap into a true harmony, interlacing our thoughts, actions, and products with knowledge and accountability.
Luxury, according to the code, enforces and enhances corporate social responsibility while simultaneously maintaining a distinction between good products and services versus the best products and services. Luxury, in our terms, is not defined by reaching consumer expectations, but rather by exceeding them. Thus, knowledge, innovation, and the overall willingness to upgrade to a dynamic corporate social responsibility policy through dedication to cross-cultural interaction, and global awareness are staple requisites of the Luxury Code.
Luxury Code could be seen as very hard to fulfill but just like climbing a mountain, it is not the top of the mountain that is important but the strength and the efforts companies will make to make the change. Luxury Code is the way forward and a great marketing tool. The first brands to show their CSR in following it will be the most successful brands on the market.
– Respect of the Earth
– Respect of Air and Water
– Respect of Health
– Respect of Culture
– Ethical Products
– Products as Pieces of Art
– Soul and History of Products
– Ethical Advertisement
– Products as Consumer’s Services