Seek­ing the spenders

It will be the Year of the Horse in China next month, and US re­tail­ers now fo­cused on Christ­mas shop­pers are get­ting ready for the surge — they hope — of Chi­nese buy­ers, Caro­line Berg re­ports from New York.

China Daily (Canada) - - IN DEPTH -

From New York City’s lux­ury shop­ping veins of Fifth and Madi­son av­enues to out­lets across the coun­try, US re­tail­ers will be seek­ing to cash in on the in­flux of Chi­nese tourists who will come to the US dur­ing the two-week Lu­nar New Year fes­ti­val that be­gins on Jan 31.

“This is a huge pop­u­la­tion that loves to travel and loves to shop,” said Evan Saun­ders, CEO and co-founder of At­tract China, a Bos­ton-based mar­ket­ing-so­lu­tions com­pany. “You want to em­brace the fact that you un­der­stand their cul­ture, and that it’s a hol­i­day where they come from and that might be the rea­son why they are where they are, trav­el­ing abroad.”

The Chi­nese New Year, also known as the Lu­nar New Year and Spring Fes­ti­val, is as im­por­tant to the Chi­nese pop­u­la­tion as Christ­mas is in the West. Just as for­eign coun­tries that don’t cel­e­brate Christ­mas still set up hol­i­day dis­plays in ho­tels and shops to wel­come Western trav­el­ers, the Chi­nese ap­pre­ci­ate ef­forts by US re­tail­ers to ac­knowl­edge the Chi­nese New Year, Saun­ders said. and a mod­est lo­go­type. More­over, the re­cent de­vel­op­ment of sec­ond­hand lux­ury bou­tiques has also be­come pop­u­lar, ac­cord­ing to an ar­ti­cle in Jing Daily.

“In the past a con­sumer might buy some­thing that was the piece that every­body wore,” Buch­wald said. “Now, we see peo­ple pea­cock a lit­tle bit and wear things that their friends may not have.”

Buch­wald said peo­ple may still be buy­ing a $3,000-$5,000 hand­bag that is still rec­og­niz­able to a brand’s style and crafts­man­ship, but not as much rec­og­niz­able for their la­bel.

“Tied to that, we’re see­ing women and men re­ally learn how to mix and match, so there’s no monochro­matic LVMH look,” Buch­wald said.

He said Chi­nese con­sumers are learn­ing more about how to pair dif­fer­ent brands and un­der­stand the trends com­ing out of Paris, in terms of col­ors or pat­terns, in­stead of dress­ing di­rectly out of Prada or Her­mes look-books.

“China is the fu­ture,” said Brian Buch­wald, founder and CEO of Bo­moda — an online com­mu­nity fo­cused on cu­rat­ing lux­ury fash­ion and life­style for Chi­nese shop­pers world­wide. “You have this huge pop­u­la­tion base that is very am­bi­tious, that is will­ing to work hard and has shown mas­sive eco­nomic, ed­u­ca­tion and cul­tural gains in the past one to two decades, and I feel like it’s only ac­cel­er­at­ing.” Con­tact the writer at car­o­lineberg@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

South­ern Cal­i­for­nia’s posh South Coast Plaza cel­e­brated its fourth an­nual Lu­nar New Year with the Year of the Snake this year and will wel­come the Year of the Horse in 2014.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Werner Escher wel­comed stilt cir­cus per­form­ers for the 2013 Spring Fes­ti­val at South Coast Plaza.

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