Chinese Luxury Shoppers Do Brisk Business Selling Paper Shopping Bags

Used Chanel Shopping Bags Selling For Up To 200 Yuan (US$31) On Taobao

Next best thing?

Next best thing?

We can’t exactly call this an “only in China” story, but Shandong Business Daily reports this week that some enterprising Chinese luxury shoppers are doing a brisk business reselling their branded paper shopping bags online. Much like Gucci’s (truly only in China) free paper folder, which came packaged inside last month’s issue of Vogue China, paper Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Burberry shopping bags are showing up on Taobao, selling for anywhere from a couple of yuan (US$0.38) for the smallest Chanel shopping bag to 200 yuan ($31) for the largest. For those whose incomes could never allow them to purchase a Chloé handbag, Hermès scarf or Cartier watch, toting around a branded paper bag seems to be the next best thing. But according to Shandong Business Daily, young luxury aspirants are turning to Taobao not only for paper shopping bags, but virtually anything affordable with a name brand stamped on it — and actual luxury shoppers are all too willing to sell.

From the article (translation by Jing Daily team):

One individual who runs a Taobao online store selling luxury goods told reporters that his store in addition to selling paper shopping bags caters to demand for anything with a printed logo, including fabric dust bags. “Starting this summer, Prada and Chanel began using transparent plastic shopping bags, which made some consumers worried that people could spy on what they were buying. So lots of consumers have been buying branded dust bags [from my store] to put inside their transparent bags, so they can still show off a luxury brand logo while hiding what’s inside.”

It’s understood that the “second-hand paper bag market” is also very popular in South Korea, with many second hand shopping websites selling Burberry and LV paper bags for anywhere from 23-30 yuan. Discussing this phenomenon, brand marketing expert Liu Hongyi explained that “second-hand shopping bags” satisfy the vanity of some consumers.

“There are plenty of consumers who’ll use these bags to package gifts to give to friends or to carry around purchases in the mall, but they can also be bought up by some businesses to package their counterfeit products,” Liu said.

Considering paper shopping bags show up in the West as well, on Ebay and other online shopping sites, this certainly isn’t a China-only phenomenon. But like the empty bottles of Lafite that occasionally sell for upwards of $500, this story shows that everyone from counterfeiters to blue-collar workers is eager to get their hands on anything affordable that connotes luxury consumption, no matter how outwardly disposable it may be.

 

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