Eagle-eyed appraisers watch over China’s booming second-hand luxury goods market
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CAPE TOWN, May 06 (ANA) - Luxury appraisers are in high demand in China to sift through counterfeit products as the world’s second biggest market for luxury goods has shown growth over the years and is expected to surpass the United States by 2025.
According to a report released by consultancy firm Bain & Company last November, China will become the world’s biggest luxury goods market, which includes jewellery, fashion and beauty, with Chinese consumers to account for close to half of the global spending.
The report showed that Covid-19 had a major impact on the sector in 2020, with the overall luxury market taking its biggest hit since 2009.
Due to various lockdowns globally, tourist hot spots such as London, Paris, New York and Rome felt the pinch as the high-spending Chinese tourists were made to spend their money locally.
“Luxury brands have faced a year of tremendous shifts but we believe that the industry will come out of the crisis with more purpose and more dynamism than ever before,” said Federica Levato, a Bain & Company partner.
“By 2030, this industry will be drastically transformed. We will not talk about luxury industry any more, but of the market for insurgent cultural and creative excellence,” she said.
Levato added that in this new, enlarged space, the winning brands will be those that build on their existing excellence, and that luxury players would need to think boldly to rewrite the rules of the game.
Lockdowns due to the pandemic have also prompted online shopping to soar, however, with many high-quality luxury counterfeit goods sold online as well.
In Beijing, luxury goods appraiser Zhang Chen founded the Extraordinary Luxuries Business School, which offers a seven-day course to those who are interested in acquiring the skills to authenticate second-hand luxury bargains.
According to the Chinese News Service (CNS), some appraisers need only 10 seconds to tell if a product is real or fake. They look at various things from bad stitching and tacky serial numbers to suspicious logos.
“The hardest part of the job lies in that luxury products are handmade and non-standardised,” said Chen.
“The same style of products from different manufactured batches differ… in addition, every luxury brand has its own processing technology, and the technology is constantly changing.
“There are no specific rules. It requires you to have a very good memory,” he said.
Chen added that appraisers would need to learn all the time as new styles emerge, and the manufacturing technology of fake goods also gets updated frequently.
The fine details of verifying a watch would have them take a very close look at the needle axis and tip. Chen notes that with a genuine watch the tip would be very sharp; however, its fake counterpart would have low-grade workmanship.
China has been the only region globally to finish 2020 on a positive note, with growth of 45% to reach US$52 billion in sales.