Considered consumption

Updated: 2012-02-07 10:27

(China Daily)

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Chinese-speaking sales assistants and point of sales terminals for China Unionpay are already standard requirements for the top department stores in London and New York, popular destinations for Chinese tourists. The question is should we be proud of or worried about it.

The latest data released by the World Luxury Association on Feb 1 indicates that Chinese consumers' expenditure on luxury goods overseas during the Spring Festival holiday increased nearly 33 percent year-on-year.

Mainland consumers now account for almost two-thirds of luxury consumers in Europe, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and one-third of luxury consumers in North America.

At this rate, China will replace Japan as the world's largest consumer of luxury goods well before the predicted 2015.

But luxury goods are not actually necessary ingredients for a good quality life for Chinese people, especially considering the fact there are more than 100 million Chinese citizens still living under the poverty line.

Japanese consumers spent 20 years rationalizing their mania for luxury items. Chinese consumers may also need such a puberty period to liberate their nouveau riche mentality and reflect on their pursuit of the most expensive rather than the most suitable.

What makes it even more worrying is that an increasing number of young consumers are eager to participate in the rush for luxury goods, despite their limited incomes. Reportedly, the average Chinese consumer of luxury goods is more than 10 years younger that the average consumer in the West.

It is important that the national wealth, accumulated through people's hard work over the past 30 years, is not squandered on luxury items.

The Chinese authorities and the media should pay special attention to improving the consumption awareness of Chinese buyers, so that spending power of domestic consumers is not wasted.

Chinese consumers should learn to spend their money wisely, so as not to set a bad example for others at home and promote erroneous judgments about China abroad.