Globalisation - Glocalisation...

Globalisation - Glocalisation...

Luxury is a global market

Robert Dunsmore, 28/03/13

In 2005 Ernst and Young predicted China would spend $11.5 billion on luxury goods by 2015. In 2012 spend exceeded $15.6 billion. So how did some traditional European brands manage to flop so spectacularly and fail to cash in on the 160 million strong expanding Chinese middle class?

China is complex and idiosyncratic. Their luxury buying New Affluents wish to engage via their own agenda - just like their western counterparts - but their behavioural motives are 8000 km away. Bentley for example has become a cool, 30 - something brand in the East - hardly its traditional profile in its Western homeland - where as a Rolls Royce would look too conspicuously luxury for young Eastern sensibilities.

So what of the mysterious middle classes and the undreamt of potential of this sleeping giant..? Again, adjustments are necessary - they too will balance thrift, modesty, face and respect on their path to riches. For them a luxury purchase is buying "up" - a strategic acquisition that to gain respect and social status - accompanied with months of sacrifice, thrift and trading "down" elsewhere. They want credit for it - not to buy it.

So less “globalisation “and a bit more “glocalisation”.

The relationship with a luxury brand is a complex balance - like a market that has just been subjected to a raft of new regulations. Respect them and thrive.


Robert Dunsmore, Creative director at SO Group. SO Group is one of the most influential exhibition and events companies in the UK; delivery partner to 88% of top UK organisers and preferred supplier to a third of the biggest venues in the country. We are passionate people who care about what we do and utilise our experience to create outstanding experiences.