The Chinese love affair with life’s little luxuries

The seemingly rampant early success of brands such as Louis Vuit­ton a decade ago was largely due to the novelty of designer goods in China.
Angelica Cheung, Vogue China’s editor in chief, liken­­­ed the first glut of luxury goods in China to food being given to the starving.
The well-heeled are now extremely well fed. For seasoned buyers of luxury, extravagant purchases such as Steinway grand pianos have become a symbol of culture and taste.
Some Chinese have even moved beyond luxury goods to assert their status, with a small but growing number of the wealthy buying 50-year leases on private islands.
In June, China Daily reported that the China Island Owners Associa­t­ion had more than 50 members and was set to grow rapidly.
But the strongest and most established luxury brands continue to dominate. Apple re­p­orted Chinese revenues of over $16bn (£10bn) for the first quarter of 2015, and its gold iPhone 6 was made specifically with the Chinese market in mind.
In cosmetics, Lancome and Estee Lauder are the highest selling beauty brands in China’s luxury market, and despite a slowdown in the automobile market, Audi, BMW and Lexus continue to sell high volumes.
In the wealthy south eastern city of Wenzhou, at least one $53,500 Lamborghini bicycle is sold each month, changing what was formerly “the people’s vehicle” into a sleek new toy for the rich.

SIX OF CHINA’S TOP INDULGENCES

  • Steinway grand piano
  • Lamborghini bike
  • Rolls-Royce Phantom
  • The private island
  • Single malt
  • Lancome anti-ageing serum

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