Gowns by Louis Vuitton are displayed as part of the "Volez, Voguez, Voyagez," Louis Vuitton exhibit, in the former American Stock Exchange building, in New York Financial District, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. The luxury French brand, founded in the mid-19th century, is telling its story with a free, museum-like exhibition of artifacts, products and immersive displays. The exhibition is on view at the American Stock Exchange Building in Lower Manhattan until Jan. 7. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
INTERATIONAL - Guo Jiaxi is typical of a new generation in China that is driving a sharp revival in luxury spending: young, female and unafraid to spend.

An accountant in eastern Suzhou, Guo, 24, likes Coach and Louis Vuitton, and has bought Acne Studios scarves, a Daniel Wellington watch and a Mont Blanc belt as gifts. Of an annual salary of 50 000 yuan (R94000), she spends one-fifth on luxury items.

Guo and her peer group were behind a dramatic spike in luxury spending in China last year, according to consultancy Bain & Co. They are the key demographic for luxury brands from LVMH to Gucci owner Kering and France’s Hermes in tapping the world’s top luxury consumers.

Their willingness to spend - often more than they can afford - comes with a note of caution. These consumers are typically less loyal to traditional brands, swayed by shifting trends online and increasingly looking for deals.

“Some of these youngsters, even when they don’t really have enough funds, they’re still going out and buying luxury products,” said Huang Yue, 27, who runs the fashion section at the website “Loving Luxury”. 

- REUTERS