China’s jewellery market: new perspectives on consumer behaviour

Published 1st December 2016

Categories: Demand, Jewellery, Market insights

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China has gone through remarkable change in the past 30 years. Within one generation, the shape of our economy has altered beyond all recognition: agriculture’s share of output has fallen and the service sector has become an important driver of growth; millions of people have migrated from the countryside to big cities; and we have become richer, with income per capita increasing by almost 700% between 1995 and 2015.

Amidst this change, a new generation of consumers has emerged. China is a world leader in online sales, and it is expected that by 2018 20% of all retail sales will be online. But consumer tastes are evolving and people are increasingly looking for experiences to make their lives richer: international travel, for example, is a signal of status, and outbound tourism has ballooned in recent years, from less than 20m tourists per annum in the early 2000s to over 100m in recent years.

The gold industry must adapt to this evolving consumer landscape.

This report aims to share insights on consumers’ attitudes towards gold within the jewellery and luxury fashion market, highlighting differences in attitudes across cities and generations. 

It also identifies opportunities to help the industry grow. Gold jewellery performs well in meeting consumer needs around value tradition and connect, and the industry should build on this strength. But it should also explore how it can build brands which resonate with consumers around other needs, such as reward and assert success. Retailers should also explore ways to develop seamless online strategies, especially to target the all-important millennials – the next generation of gold consumers.

I hope our insights help the industry think creatively about how to adapt and grow, and I welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues in more detail with manufacturers, retailers and trade bodies.