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More Chinese nationals are opting to buy luxury goods offshore, study finds 

A sluggish economy has stalled bricks-and-mortar expansion of luxury stores in China, according to a new report from Savills
  • There has been a rise in luxury store openings elsewhere, driven by the relaxation of visa policies for Chinese nationals in countries like Singapore and Thailand

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UPDATED: 31 May 2024, 8:08 am

Excluding China, Asia saw an increase in luxury store openings last year – a trend in part driven by more Chinese nationals opting to shop offshore, according to the Savills Global Luxury Retail 2024 report.

China’s share of luxury store openings was still by far the world’s largest at 41 percent, but its number of new brick-and-mortar outlets in 2023 was down 12 percent when compared with 2022. “Weaker Chinese consumer confidence … is now exerting an influence on occupier confidence in the country, something we expect will be reflected in new store activity through to early 2025,” Savills noted.

The real estate company added that while “the picture for Chinese luxury spend looks relatively challenged domestically, this is not being replicated across the wider region.” Indeed, it found that Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia had experienced an increase in demand for luxury shopping – largely thanks to a relaxing of visa policies for Chinese tourists. 

[See more: The IMF has upped China’s growth forecast to 5 percent]

Nevertheless, China’s sluggish economy meant that “only the super rich have the appetite to keep spending on luxury,” according to Savills. Its report listed falling residential property prices, growing unemployment and stock market fluctuations as the reasons many Chinese people preferred to save their money during this time.

“As a result of this, brands are taking a more cautious approach to expansion, at least for the time being.”

Asia without China accounted for an 18 percent share of luxury store openings in 2023 (the same as the US and one percentage point more than Europe), with Singapore and Japan leading the charge. Japan has become the cheapest country in Asia to buy luxury goods due to its weak currency.

UPDATED: 31 May 2024, 8:08 am

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