A man walks by a Louis Vuitton store in Hangzhou. (File photo/Xinhua)
A sharp rise in the number of male consumers has led to the emergence of China's luxury goods market. A 2001 report on luxury goods published by global management consulting firm Bain & Company said that men were the main driver of luxury goods sales in China.
As a result, several luxury brands, including Gucci, LV and Hermes, have begun expanding their product range that caters to men and have even set up special stores in China. Coach also opened an independent men's goods store in Shanghai in October.
Chinese-language Business Value magazine reported that men had become major consumers of luxury goods, leading to a gender shift in the market.
The Bain report indicated that between 2005 and 2009, the luxury goods market for men in China grew by 48%.
The time men spent on shopping was less than women but the amount they spent on luxury goods was considerably more, said LS:N Global, a London-based online trend forecasting and consumer insight network.
Beijing SOGO Department Store's 2011 sales data showed that men contributed 30% to its total sales but their expenditure per person was 2 to 3 times higher than female customers.
As of the last fiscal year, Coach's sales of male products around the world were pegged at US$400 million, accounting for 9% of its global total.
In China, sales of goods targeted for male use accounted for 40% of the country's total sales.
Chinese men have become even more enthusiastic about following fashion trends and had started attaching more importance to their outward appearance through the use of ornaments and personal decoration, said Jonathan Seliger, president & CEO of Coach China.
Men accounted for two-thirds of consumers for luxury goods, a 2011 report on Chinese billionaire brands showed. Another report revealed that 70% of high-end consumers were men and most of them were high-ranking employees, earning an annual salary of about 510,000 yuan (US$81,800) on average. Their average household income was more than 760,000 yuan (US$121,900) and their enhanced awareness of brands had become the main driving force behind Chinese high-end goods consumption.
Most of these nouveau riche consumers were born in the 1960s and 1970s and are identified as high-ranking executives at companies, who display a keen interest in sports and the arts. They care more about their appearance and are more enthusiastic about enjoying their life than their fathers.
Chinese men not only paid attention to footwear products and men's suits, but also other ornaments and personal embellishments, such as watches, neckties, bags, suitcases, eyeglasses, jewelry and even men's cosmetics, a Coach survey showed.