New York may be a global center for luxury shopping, but it can’t compete with Shanghai, according to a new study by Milan-based digital marketing firm ContactLab.
In the last 12 months, the firm’s survey of 975 shoppers in Shanghai and 922 in New York found that Shanghai residents spent an average of $1,000 on their last purchase—an amount twice that of New York’s $500. In addition, 91 percent are planning to do so again in the next six months compared to 77 percent in New York, with plans to spend 66 percent more than New Yorkers for the same purchase.
The prices aren’t really surprising: if you’re buying foreign luxury products in Shanghai, you’re automatically spending more thanks to high tariffs. One interesting fact is why they’re choosing to buy those items, however: in Shanghai, 86 percent of shoppers surveyed purchasing clothes and shoes were doing so for gifting purposes, compared to only 72 percent and 71 percent for New Yorkers, respectively. When it came to bags, 79 percent of those in Shanghai were buying them for gifts, compared to only 60 percent in New York.
In Shanghai, the number one source of information about a purchase is the advice of family and friends, which only ranks third for New Yorkers. The official brand website ranks second, while social media and online reviews are more important for Shanghai shoppers than for New Yorkers.
It’s clear from the survey that even though China’s anti-corruption crackdown has taken a toll on luxury gifting to officials for bribery purposes, the country’s general gift-giving culture remains strong and continues to be a driver of mainland purchases. This makes sense, since gifts are generally a more immediate need: those who are buying for themselves would be more likely to wait until they or a friend goes abroad to pick up items in order to take advantage of significantly lower prices.