China luxury market still needs maturity

China dominated the morning discussions at the second day of luxury marketing summit, currently underway in Phuket.

Chinese luxury consumers are rescuing the west, Steven Altman, managing director, affluent division, IFOP said in his morning presentation on Evolution of luxury consumption.

"But there is still way to go for China to be a mature luxury market," he said. Drawing a stark comparison with Hong Kong, he added mainland Chinese luxury shoppers are far less sophisticated and brand loyal than their Hong Kong counterparts.

According to Altman, brands have to be strong in regional markets to affect local markets. "For China you have to be strong in HK, for Southeast Asia in Singapore and so on."

Magazines are still a strong medium to reach out to the luxury shopper segment, both Altman and the subsequent speaker Michelle Chen (pictured), vice president, marketing, PCD Stores China, said.

Luxury perception is different in China, Chen said. "While in the West brand awareness might come from elders or family members in general, in China it's mainly the media that drives awareness."

Magazine is still the most important channel to get to know the brand, she said adding that people want to know the heritage of the brand and PR is a great way of achieving that. Other than that PCD Stores focuses on search engine marketing to create brand awareness.

Offering deeper insights into the Chinese luxury shopper psyche Chen said while the elder ones would want the headline traditional luxury brands, their kids or the upcoming generation of the affluent shopper prefers rare and niche high end brands.

The Luxury Marketing Summit 2012, is an exclusive event for top marketers from Asia's leading luxury brands.