Friday, 20 March 2009

Luxury and the Local - 21/03/09

The major international luxury brands continue to perform strongly at retail in Australia, despite the generally challenging retail climate that surrounds. Why you ask? They are covetable brands with a history and most of them provide unique and quality products in limited quantities backed up with service that runs from exceptional to satisfactory. This is all too true, however a significant boost (standout in fact) to all of the major global brands over the past year, in particular, has been the increasing arrival of the Chinese consumer into the market.

From the latest International Quarterly Reports (December 2008 provided by Tourism Research Australia), the Chinese tourist market has grown 41% since 2004 and represents 338K (7%) of the total inbound tourist market versus the Japanese which represent a higher number at 424K (8%), however they have declined by 36% from 2004 versus 2008. What is interesting is that the Chinese spent more dollars than the Japanese by 61%, i.e. $1.6 billion AUD$ versus $992million. The exchange rate has made Australia not only an attractive physical destination but also a relatively inexpensive one, so deja vu... we are back in the early-mid 90's when the Japanese were visiting our shores in large numbers, buying up our Opals, Ken Done, stuffed Koalas along with as many quilted Chanel handbags and Louis Vuitton monogrammed pieces of luggage they could get their hands on. Fast forward to now..

It is wonderful news on many fronts and tourism is very welcome, we have a chance to showcase the country, our lifestyle and unique assets and products. We also carry most of the major international luxury fashion and fine jewellery brands, that are at the top of their shopping list to acquire. All great news and long may this continue. The question is, at what cost to the local? Ongoing consistent success must always ensure the loyal local client is (i) remembered; (ii) purchased for; (iii) followed up; (iv) reminded and (v) invited. Despite their peaks and troughs (economic crisis or otherwise), consistent service will ensure the locals maintain their loyalty to the brand when the dollar moves back up the Rickter Scale and the Chinese seek out a new and cheaper destination... Guam or Maui anyone..!

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Who's behind the MO DOWN

Melinda O’Rourke is the founder and Director of MO Luxury, a dynamic, Sydney-based management firm specialising in luxury brands and services. Melinda and her associates at MO work with local and international brands across prestige retail, fashion, fine jewellery, timepieces and specialised services. Melinda is well-connected, well-read, and well-versed in the demands of the luxury market and its client base. Her advice is firmly based in objectivity and ultimately, accountability. Melinda offers constructive counsel and both strategic and creative thinking and is able to draw upon a strong network of specialised talent to compliment the MO Luxury team as needed. Melinda enjoys excellent industry relationships and is regularly quoted in the business and fashion media. Read more about MO Luxury,