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Chinese chase new luxury labels abroad

chinaluxuryPARIS/HONG KONG/NEW YORK--Chinese luxury consumers are spending more on ready-to-wear and new labels, a notable shift in the behaviour and tastes of the world's top spenders, a Reuters survey of retailers in the United States, Asia and Europe showed.
  Chinese consumers are increasingly travelling alone, rather than in groups, and are more likely to buy for themselves or friends than for their boss, or the spouse of a government official. Just over two years ago, around a third of Chinese luxury purchases centred on gifts-for-favours including Rolex watches, Hennessy cognac and Gucci handbags.
  Beijing's clamp-down on corruption and conspicuous spending since 2012 has squashed that market and prompted more Chinese to buy luxury goods abroad to save money and shop anonymously.
  Analysts estimate more than two thirds of luxury purchases by Chinese buyers is done overseas, mainly in shopping hotspots such as Paris, Milan, London, New York and Tokyo, which can offer savings of more than 50 percent compared with China prices thanks to foreign exchange rates, tax refunds and other discounts.
  "While they used to purchase luxury products to show off their wealth, now they want to show their good taste, their personal choice of the best the luxury industry can offer," said Daniele Zito, from consultancy Bain & Co, based in Italy. "This is increasingly supporting more niche and less distributed brands."
  More than a dozen luxury retailers surveyed in Asia, Europe and the United States said they had not seen any impact from China's economic woes this year. Such effects could feed through in coming months, analysts said.
  Luxury spending by Chinese abroad is rising and their changing tastes have implications for many up-and-coming brands, the survey suggested. Chinese luxury buyers barely existed a decade ago but today represent more than 30 percent of the global personal luxury goods market, expected to reach around $259 billion this year.
  And since only about 5 percent of Chinese have passports, many more will travel, predicts Erwan Rambourg, an HSBC luxury goods analyst and author of "The Bling Dynasty: why the reign of the Chinese luxury shoppers has only just begun".
  Many Chinese shoppers are on their second or third trip, sometimes to the same place, which means they are more likely to be travelling alone and have more time to try out new styles and brands. "They have much more time to spend money and look after themselves when they are alone," said Bertrand Legal, a personal shopper at Paris' Printemps, a department store with more than 2,000 high-spending customers on its rolodex. Close to 70 percent are Chinese.
  Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Givenchy, Chloe and Miu Miu, are among the brands drawing more interest from Chinese customers, the survey showed. Rising stars in ready-to-wear are Victoria Beckham and Alexander McQueen, as well as Korean designers such as Mojo.s.phine and Ozoc.

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