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The Bling Dynasty: Why the Reign of Chinese Luxury Shoppers Has Only Just Begun



The Bling Dynasty: Why the Reign of Chinese Luxury Shoppers Has Only Just Begun

Erwan Rambourg

ISBN: 978-1-118-96970-0 July 2014 288 Pages


Why the luxury market's fate rests in Chinese wallets

The media has negatively focused on the Chinese political administration clamping down on gifting. Observers have come to doubt the strength of Chinese consumption as the key driver for luxury. The Bling Dynasty illustrates how doubts about Chinese consumption are ill-founded and Chinese luxury demand is on the cusp of becoming dominant.

This book contains the research and expert views companies need to understand and address the new challenges posed by this dominance. Each chapter brings a different perspective, covering complex aspects of luxury consumption, with illustrations and real-world examples that support the research. Readers will gain insights through interviews with brand executives, retailers, experts, and consumers.

As an economic heavyweight, China is fast realizing its role in the luxury market. Chinese consumers should be accounting for more than a third of the global luxury market today, and half, if not more, in ten year's time. The Bling Dynasty runs counter to the conventional wisdom that expanding sectors become more global. Luxury is actually becoming over-dependent on Chinese sales.

Readers will:

  • Understand how Western brands developed in Asia and the challenges they are met with, notably ubiquity
  • Learn why Chinese are purchasing luxury items abroad and what it means for the future of the sector
  • Gain insights on why there are no Chinese luxury brands challenging Western models
  • Realize that Chinese consumers are becoming similar to their American peers and that luxury competition goes way beyond pre-conceptions

China's big spenders are increasingly mobile and this is affecting key markets. The Bling Dynasty provides new research and a comprehensive look at the booming business of luxury and the Chinese wallet.

Acknowledgments ix

About the Author xi

List of Terms xiii

Foreword xv

Introduction: The New Silk Road xvii

Part 1: West Goes East 1

Chapter 1: Eastern Promises, Delivered 3

Chapter 2: The Only Way Is Up 31

Chapter 3: Another French Paradox 53

Chapter 4: Deconstructing the Myth 75

Part 2: East Goes West 93

Chapter 5: The Trouble with Travel 95

Chapter 6: Why Chinese Travel and Where To 107

Part 3: East Meets East 141

Chapter 7: Are Chinese Brands a Threat to Western Models? 143

Part 4: The World Meets 161

Chapter 8: Pop Culture, Value for Money and Globalisation 163

Cha pter 9: The Chinese Luxury Empire 183

Chapter 10: All In: Coach, Apple and the Cosmetic Surgeon 197

Conclusion: The Bling Supremacy 211

Epilogue: What Is True Luxury? 213

Appendix A: Luxury Goods Basics 219

Appendix B: China Statistics 225

Index 227

"China's volatile demand for luxury has left industry executives scratching their heads. How much longer will anti-corruption measures weigh on sales? Are Chinese becoming more value-driven as they travel more and more sophisticated? Ultimately, how should global luxury brands set their pricing, supply, store openings and digital strategy to capture Chinese consumers? The Bling Dynasty is an insightful read for luxury managers, consultants and anyone who wants to understand consumption trends and China's role in shaping them. As a former marketing manager in the industry, author Erwan Rambourg understands how the brands operate inside and out. As a co-head of global consumer and retail equity research at HSBC, he has taken his analytic depth to his first book, filing it with interesting numbers and interviews with executives. Mr. Rambourg has a unique background as a Frenchman growing up in the U.S. and being based in Hong Kong for the past 4 years has given him a front-seat view of how the Chinese consumers operate and a broad perspective of the often opaque global world of luxury." - Wei Gu, Wall Street Journal editor for China Wealth and Luxury

The Bling Dynasty puts doubters of China’s appetite for luxury goods to the back of the queue. Erwan Rambourg’s clever use of avatars to portray the true nature and extent of the huge desire for luxury goods in China makes this an informative but also easy read. It is a must for anyone hoping to understand what drives the consumers of the world's second largest economy. Rambourg, based in Hong Kong at HSBC, is one of the leading experts on the luxury goods sector and in The Bling Dynasty he successfully combines well researched data with access to the real shoppers on the street.” - Laura Chesters, business reporter and luxury goods specialist at London Evening Standard and The Independent

“Erwan Rambourg adopts an engaging, conversational voice to explain the complexities of the Chinese market – as if inviting his readers to a dinner party at his Hong Kong flat. He answers the questions on so many minds with clear explanations peppered with parables, literary references, hard data and genuine, wide-eyed discovery.” - Miles Socha, European editor of Women’s Wear Daily

“In this book Erwan Rambourg has managed to combine his vast knowledge of the luxury goods sector with ideas drawn from his personal experience as a westerner who has re-located to Hong Kong. The result is an interesting and entertaining viewpoint of the Chinese consumer and of the Luxury goods world in general. In a simple but efficient manner the book covers an important and current issue in a way which allows the reader to view the dynamics of the world of luxury goods from an unusual perspective. I particularly enjoyed being able to re-visit, through the book, some of the feelings that I have experienced during my many visits to Asia.” - Diego Della Valle, Tod’s Group Chairman and CEO

“Erwan Rambourg knows the luxury goods industry inside out. His on-the-ground work in China yields deep insights into the mindset of the local consumer and a clear analysis of the unparalleled opportunities this market offers to attractive, global brands.” - Claus-Dietrich Lahrs, Chief Executive Officer HUGO BOSS AG

“Erwan Rambourg is both a marketer, an analyst and a thinker and has used his broad experience of the luxury industry to write The Bling Dynasty a bit like an international correspondent. He's exploring China, the new Eldorado for Luxury and his inside knowledge and the focus on consumers have produced an analysis which is both sharp and concrete. A few memorable moments as well as a very personal touch make this book very informative and entertaining to read." - Francois Le Troquer, Executive Director Luxury Division, Watches of Switzerland - Mappin & Webb

“China's middle class holds the key to the future of luxury.  Erwan Rambourg demonstrates this with extensive insights into both the luxury industry and what Chinese want.” - Francis Belin, Senior Vice President Asia Pacific, Swarovski Consumer Goods Business

"Through first-hand knowledge and unique facts and anecdotes, The Bling Dynasty provides an in-depth analysis of one of the most important markets for luxury brands, China. Erwan shares his insights with incisive scrutiny and wit, and offers a unique perspective on a sector that is both abundantly discussed yet still filled with misconceptions.” - Ketty Pucci-Sisti Maisonrouge, Luxury Entrepreneur, Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School, Associate Professor at IE Business School, author of The Luxury Alchemist

“I have been speaking with Erwan Rambourg for years and have benefited considerably from his ideas. Anyone who wants to understand the luxury market must first understand the Chinese consumer. The Bling Dynasty is a must-read for investors, marketers, or anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the future of luxury in China.” - Robert Dunphy, Portfolio Manager, OppenheimerFunds