Luxury Item Appraisers In Demand As China's Appetite For Luxury Goods Increase

China Economy
Men walk past a boutique of the Louis Vuitton luxury goods company in Beijing, China (Photo: Reuters)

In China, a new type of profession is now in demand as incomes rise and consumers are now buying more luxury items from expensive brands. Luxury appraisers were once just a niche market in the country, but today more and more Chinese buyers are looking for professionals to appraise their newly purchased goods.

Majority of the luxury items that are being bought by young affluent Chinese consumers are expensive handbags from premium brands such as Burberry, Gucci, and Lous Vuitton. While some of the items are bought from reputable stores and official outlets, most are actually purchased from online sellers and used-goods websites. This poses a big problem for some consumers as there are a good number of fakes that are being sold along authentic goods.

According to Zhang Chen, a 35-year-old luxury appraiser in Beijing, demand for his services has recently boomed with more and more people now seeking his advice prior to making purchases. Zhen offers his clients with both online and personal appraisals, with the latter being his more lucrative service.

Hundreds of people contact Zhen online every day asking him to appraise different luxury items. Online appraisals, involving photos from different angles, are usually adequate for less expensive items, but Zhen prefers to meet in person when it comes to items costing thousands of dollars. For his personal examinations, Zhen uses gloves, magnifying glass, flashlights, and other tools to properly determine an item's authenticity.

Research reports have shown that China may soon account for more than 44 percent of global luxury sales by 2025. This is estimated to be worth more than US$149 billion in new purchases. Another report from Yaok Research Institute, a firm that focuses on tracking the consumption of luxury goods, claims that China is already close to reaching that number with more than US$145.7 billion spent on luxury products last year. The firm also reveals that China's consumption of luxury goods had grown by 7 percent year-on-year in 2018.

Apart from the total expenditure, the firm's report also revealed that over 74 percent, or US$107.3 billion, of the luxury purchases, were actually made abroad, while the rest was spent domestically. The report reveals that the percentage of purchases made online has drastically increased over the past few years. Thanks to the numerous e-commerce websites flourishing in China, more high-end brands are now selling their products online.

Market analysts predict a bright future for the luxury goods industry given the country's increasing middle-income earners with more disposable incomes. The rise in the demand for luxury goods has also been seen as a good indicator of a continually growing economy, despite the ongoing trade negotiations with the United States. 

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