As the MO Down has already touched on in the past few weeks, China is set to become the world’s largest consumer of luxury goods by the year 2015. As far as the Chinese market is concerned, brands may be forced to, quite literally, help people eat, or be eaten.
Luxury brands will need to compete to assert themselves in this increasingly lucrative market, and it will be interesting to see how they realise the image potential that lies in their CSR. Personal philanthropy is all the rage for the Chinese elite at the moment, and consumers are becoming increasingly aware of corporate generosity- or lack thereof.
A survey of 1100 shoppers in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, conducted by Albatross Global Solutions and Ruder Finn Asia, found that CSR would influence brand loyalty in 2/3 cases. This seems a golden opportunity for brands to capitalise on doing good. The ‘nouveau riche’ of China are indulging in luxury brands and flaunting their status to distinguish themselves, but are likewise under enormous social pressure to be charitable. As luxury, status and charity become inextricably linked in China, luxury brands will be scrutinised, and perhaps crazy, for not following suit.
Several luxury brands have already showed initiative- Bulgari released a ‘save the children’ charity ring, and Gucci have switched to environmentally friendly packaging. See It seems that the title of most charitable luxury brand may become a coveted one- May the best man win!
Image credit: http://timescorrespondents.typepad.com/charles_bremner/2008/06/paris-stores-mi.html
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