To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Entering the dragon’s nest: exploring Chinese upper-class consumers’ perception of luxury

Shan Chen (Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italiy)
Lucio Lamberti (Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Article publication date: 12 January 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explore the perception of luxury from the perspectives of Chinese upper-class consumers.

Design/methodology/approach

Four focus groups, each consisting of six upper-class and experienced luxury consumers, are formed in four cities, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, which are among the most affluent, populated and developed in the luxury market.

Findings

The findings suggest that Chinese upper-class luxury consumers, indeed, hold different perceptions for luxury in several aspects: price premium is a prestige in contrast to general Chinese consumers’ “value-consciousness”; exclusivity is more valued by the upper-class and experienced consumers; more attention of the upper-class consumers has shifted to individual values from social values; brand value is of high importance; and there exist differences among consumers in different regions.

Practical implications

The study suggests that luxury brands should recognize the differences between the upper-class customers who are still the core consumers for luxury goods and the middle-class customers who are growing rapidly while designing their marketing strategies.

Originality/value

The study focuses, unprecedentedly, on the upper-class and experienced Chinese luxury consumers who represent the most valuable group of customers of the luxury brands in the Chinese market. Given the peculiarity of customer behavior in the luxury market, such focus provides a brand new perspective without the noises from the inclusion of consumers with insufficient purchasing power and ineligible experience in luxury consumption.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors warmly thank Weiyu Wang for her contribution in data gathering.

Citation

Chen, S. and Lamberti, L. (2015), "Entering the dragon’s nest: exploring Chinese upper-class consumers’ perception of luxury", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 4-29. https://doi.org/10.1108/QMR-01-2013-0002

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited