(Yicai Global) May 26 -- The Chinese market for luxury products has much more potential than that of South Korea because of the relative population sizes, according to the chief executive officer of Italian luxury fashion house Bulgari.
“The weight of China compared to Korea is obviously not comparable,” Jean-Christophe Babin told Yicai Global. “On one hand, you have a market with 1.2 billion people, and on the other hand, you have a market with 45 million people, so obviously the potential of the Chinese market is much much higher than the Korean market because of demographics.
“We invest more resources and human talents rather than financial resources in terms of ambassadors, events, advertising, and specific limit editions [in China] more than we do for South Korea or Italy, which is our country, just because these markets remain small,” he said.
China, the United States, and Japan are Bulgari’s top priorities because of the demographic factor and their high gross domestic products, which together are an excellent combination for luxury, said Babin, who has been the Rome-based company’s CEO for 10 years.
South Korea’s luxury consumption totaled USD16.8 billion last year, with a per capita figure of USD325, ranking first globally. Luxury consumption in the US and China per head was USD280 and USD55, respectively.
Bulgari opened a flagship store on China’s JD.Com two years ago and one on Alibaba’s Tmall online marketplace half a year later. Most of the items bought there are priced at less than EUR5,000 (USD5,360), but it is common for some clients to buy jewels for around EUR20,000 (USD21,465), Babin noted.
Asia has huge potential thanks to an array of driving forces. Japan, South Korea, and Singapore are mature markets, China and India are growing significantly, and emerging markets like Thailand and Indonesia are also on the rise, Babin added.
In the post-Covid-19 era, Bulgari’s overseas business should focus on local customers, so only by forming a stronger bond with local markets can the brand seize opportunities to make breakthroughs, according to Babin.
Asia will continue to play a leading role for Bulgari, as the firm will blend more elements Asian people like into their jewelry designs, Babin noted. For example, jade is not very popular in Europe, but it is in China, so Bulgari will develop more jade items for the Chinese market.
Editor: Futura Costaglione