DUBAI, UAE - Brand-hungry consumers from China who travel far and wide, including Dubai, are increasingly snapping up luxury items that would cost a lot more back home.
Retail shops around town, including the ones operated by Rivoli Group that markets over 100 international prestigious brands, are seeing a growing number of Chinese filling their shopping bags with luxury watches from Omega, Brequet, Blancpain, Glashutte, Jaeger Le Coultre, IWC and Longines, mobile phones from Vertu, and a bunch of products from Mont Blanc.
The surge in demand is fuelled by the continued economic growth in China and rising income of its citizens. In 2010 alone, the UAE recorded about 150,000 visitors from China.
"We have experienced a phenomenal jump in the number of Chinese shoppers across all our brands in the luxury segment," Abraham Koshy, group general manager of Rivoli Group, observes.
"They have come to appreciate quality and are, therefore, very brand conscious. Due to their booming economy and increased spending power, they are now more inclined to travel abroad and purchase luxury items such as watches, writing instruments, and eyewear."
Chinese are among the top five nationalities shopping at Rivoli's stores, which offer high-end brands with five-digit price tags and a mix of affordable luxury and fashion brands with four-digit prices.
"Our Chinese customers are mainly visitors or tourists and we experience a surge in the visitor numbers during the festive season and the Dubai Shopping Festival [DSF]. Interestingly, the number of Chinese resident shoppers has also risen considerably over the last few years in the UAE," Koshy adds.