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    Festive romance drives luxury goods sales

    By FAN FEIFEI | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-08-21 22:52
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    Burberry handbags on display at a department store in Beijing. CHINA DAILY

    Whether you've just fallen in love or have been in a relationship for years, buying gifts for your someone special on the occasion of Qixi Festival, or Chinese Valentine's Day, is the norm. Little wonder then that luxury gift items are flying off the shelves of online retailers as China gets ready to celebrate its most romantic traditional festival on Tuesday.

    Data from online retailer Vipshop shows that sales of luxury watches grew 23 percent between Aug 14 and 20, compared with the same period in July. Purchases of jewelry, sunglasses and high-end sports goods jumped 48 percent, 78 percent and 231 percent, respectively, during the same period.

    Cosmetics and gift boxes are gaining in popularity among Chinese consumers, with luxury bags, necklaces, gold earrings and bracelets, and wallets witnessing booming sales ahead of Qixi Festival, revealed Chinese e-commerce giant JD. Searches for flowers and chocolates on JD's online platform jumped thirtyfold in August.

    JD has recently inked a strategic partnership with Italian luxury brand Gucci to launch an official Gucci flagship store on its online platform, and offer immersive and digital shopping experiences for consumers. So far, a number of international luxury brands, including Louis Vuitton, Tiffany and Bottega Veneta, have launched online stores on JD.

    Industry experts said that China's luxury goods consumption saw a strong recovery in the first half of the year despite lingering downward pressures on the global economy, and e-commerce platforms have served as one of the most important channels for Chinese consumers to buy luxury products from overseas.

    Jason Yu, general manager of market research company Kantar Worldpanel China, said: "Qixi, a festival that is unique to China, has created new consumption scenarios. It has provided opportunities for global luxury brands to attach great importance to traditional Chinese festivals in a bid to cater to local consumers' demands and bolster their sales."

    E-commerce platforms are playing an increasingly significant role in unleashing people's purchasing appetite for luxury goods, especially in lower-tier cities and townships where the penetration rate of offline luxury brand stores is relatively low, Yu said.

    Mo Daiqing, a senior analyst at domestic consultancy Internet Economy Institute, said that Chinese online retailers have stepped up efforts to cooperate with luxury brands, and are offering an array of coupons and discounts during the traditional festival to spur consumers' willingness to spend, which will further help promote the recovery of consumption in the country.

    China has become the world's largest luxury goods market, with revenue expected to touch 750 billion yuan ($102.8 billion) in 2023, up over 20 percent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

    The country's luxury goods market is expected to grow to 816 billion yuan by 2025, or around 25 percent of the global total, said a report from consultancy company PwC.

    Global market consultancy Bain & Company said that compared with other emerging markets, China has a larger number of middle- and high-income consumers, and these populations are projected to double by 2030.

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