08
Feb
2013

Luxury gifting in China will become more discrete

Earlier this week the Chinese TV watchdog ordered all radio and TV channels to cut advertisements suggesting ‘gift giving’, in response to new rules set by the leadership in particular for officials to lead a more restrained lifestyle. The request was particularly aimed at those channels promoting items such as  ‘luxury’ watches, stamps and gold coins. There are of course more common items such as food and drink that are promoted as gifts, particularly for the mass market.

The probability that this ruling will affect consumption of luxury goods is small, and in fact most luxury goods are presented in terms of the value to ones life they will bring, which indirectly people will see as a benefit they can give others if the purchase was then gifted on. Gifting of luxury has always been discrete, and the unwritten value they bring to both sides acknowledged.

With the general public now being encouraged to follow the same guidelines, we can be sure of two things. The first is that those wishing to buy gifts for others will look for very discrete and less common items specifically to avoid drawing attention to themselves and the second is that there will be more eyes looking for examples of gifting that can be reported to the authorities.

The new focus on gifting could be a double-edged sword. It may reduce actual sales of luxury goods as gifts for fear of prosecution, or in fact sales of less ostintatious products form known brands, or products from brands new to China may increase accordingly. Either way, gifting will not go away, but become more discrete.

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