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Big Spenders. In Wuhan.

China’s consumers have been featured on these pages before. We had luxury stores [1]and the wonderfully wealthy [2] , as well as the middle market [3]. Now there is news from the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) about Wuhan [4], in Hubei, where the New World Center department store is soon due to open – with lots of luxury international brands.

Will there be a market for the expensive designer goods behind the shiny windows? If the following examples of Wuhan consumer purchases is anything to go by, the answer is yes:

The HKTDC report indicates that the luxury consumer market, while still small in percentage terms (perhaps the top 1 percent), is already significant in places like Wuhan:

However, despite the obvious froth in Wuhan, all is not rosy for the luxury goods stores of China. Access Asia, in an article “China’s Luxury Illusion…Vindication” says of Shanghai:

So, is it seems that while there is plenty of pent up demand (and saved-up cash) for expensive luxury goods in cities like Wuhan, Shanghai may have reached saturation point – for the moment (and anyway, that top 1 percent still buy much of their stuff when overseas). That there are regional differences should be no surprise. China’s markets differ from place to place, just like they do in Europe or the US.

It all brings me back to my favorite answer to the question: “is there a market for my company in China?”. That answer is “yes…but”. The “but” is there because, while there is almost certainly a market somewhere (for just about anything) in China, the key questions remain:

Some nicely-tailored market research may be in order.

See news source: