If you are looking for the best places for some luxury destination shopping, you may be wondering are luxury brands cheaper in China? We’re here with all you need to know to answer that question!
There are so many incredible things to do and places to visit if you are heading to China on vacation any time soon, including the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square, Yu Garden, or the Terracotta Warriors. Or perhaps you are traveling to the Chinese mainland for work soon – either way, you may be wondering whether you should do any luxury shopping while you are in the country.
That’s where this article answering the question of are luxury brands cheaper in China, will come in handy. We will cover all the most important details you need to know before you do any shopping in China, the best places to shop, and brands you should check out.
So if you are heading to China soon, then you need to check out this article to find out all the important information before you travel.
Are luxury brands cheaper in China?
The quick answer is no, luxury brands are not cheaper in China. In fact, China is the most expensive country in the Asian market for most luxury leather goods.
There are several reasons why brands are more expensive in China, in particular handbag brands, which is why you will often find that Chinese consumers will travel to Europe or the United States to shop for their luxury handbags and to find a great deal.
However, there are some benefits to shopping in China as opposed to other areas of the world, for example, Gucci and Louis Vuitton are two brands that have more leather goods available in China than in Europe – Gucci has nearly three times the amount of leather goods available in China compared to France, while Louis Vuitton has 19% more leather goods in China.
Plus, there are some great shopping locations in China that you really need to check out which we will take a closer look at later, including the tax-free island of Hainan, where many Chinese shoppers travel for some luxury retail therapy.
Why are luxury brands More expensive in China?
The main reason why luxury brands are more expensive in China than in Europe or America is due to the taxes and tariffs imposed on imports by the Chinese government. To encourage Chinese customers to buy Chinese-made products, they will apply customs duties and consumption taxes to products that are imported, making them significantly more expensive.
2. Pricing Strategies
Many luxury brands will have a different pricing strategy in for Asia than they will for Europe or the United States. There is a strong demand for luxury goods in Asia, particularly in China and so many customers are willing to pay more to get their hands on luxury goods, which luxury brands have taken into account.
This is why Chinese luxury consumers will often travel to pick up a new luxury handbag or piece of jewelry. Around 70% of Chinese people buy their luxury goods abroad and Chinese tourists make up a significant proportion of sales for luxury brands in major European cities such as Paris and Milan.
A little closer to home, many Chinese shoppers will travel outside of mainland China to Korea and Japan since these locations are a little cheaper due to local pricing, as well as a VAT refund rate of 10% that almost any foreign tourist may claim on their visit.
Prices in China compared to Other Countries
Let’s take a closer look at exactly how the price of luxury items across the world compares to the price in China. We will take the Gucci Ophidia GG Medium Tote as an example and compare the price of this bag around the world, using current exchange rates.
The price of this tote in China is around ¥12,000, not including any additional taxes and shipping fees, which are estimated between ¥80 and ¥120 – meaning the estimated retail price of this bag is ¥12,120.
|Country||Price in original currency||Price in USD ($)|
|United States||$1650 + tax||$1,650 + tax|
|Hong Kong||HK$ 12,500||$1,595|
As you can see, China is the most expensive place to buy this bag in the list of countries we have included, on par with US prices.
This table also shows how it is much better to visit Hong Kong or Japan, which are not too far away from China to do some luxury shopping as the prices are significantly cheaper and even cheaper than the price in US dollars.
Although you can clearly see that the best place for shopping is Europe, as this is one of the places with the lowest price, this table does not take into account the VAT refund that is available to tourists, which can take a further 5% to 15% off the price, depending on which European country you visit.
Best places to shop
There are lots of places to do a little shopping in China, whether that is luxury shopping or high street shopping, there are plenty of options available. In Beijing, make sure to check out Solana which has a wonderful shopping mall, the Qianmen Main Street Mall, Taikoo Li Sanlitun, or Pearl Market (Hongqiao Market) if you love a street market.
If you are heading to Shanghai, make sure to check out Shanghai IFC Mall for some luxury shopping, Iapm Shopping Mall, Joy City Shopping Mall, or West Nanjing Road to find some excellent street markets.
If you are looking to do some luxury spending, it is best to make a trip to the province of Hainan, which is known for its tax-free shopping. A new mall recently opened in Hainan, which is duty-free, and so you are guaranteed to find some of the best deals. This mall, named cdf Haikou International Duty Free City, is over three million square feet and includes 800 well-known, and luxury fashion brands, as well as plenty of beauty brands.
If you want an even better price and have more time to travel, head to Hong Kong or Japan to make your luxury purchases – there are lower prices and the exchange rates are better, so you will find some great deals.
Best-Selling Bags to add to Your Wishlist
Luxury brands may not be cheaper in China, but that is just another great reason to pick up a new luxury handbag in your home country to bring with you on any upcoming trips to China. So we have brought together some of the best handbags from some of the top luxury fashion houses that we think you should add to your collection!
Plus, make sure to check out Louis Vuitton and Gucci while you are in China since they have more leather goods available on the Chinese market than they do in France or most other European countries.
1. Louis Vuitton
The Louis Vuitton is a timeless, classic bag that you really need in your collection, and now there are so many different editions available there is something to suit any style. This edition of the Neverfull is crafted from LV monogrammed Empreinte leather in a warm brown tone, finished with gleaming gold hardware.
The top of the bag is fitted with leather shoulder straps, while the interior is lined with Alcantara and finished with a zip pocket to help you find important items easily. There is plenty of room inside the bag for all your everyday or travel essentials!
The versatility of the Louis Vuitton Monogram Multi Pochette Accessories makes it a must-have bag for this season! This chic handbag can be worn on the shoulder or across the body, and there are two different pouches to fit all your important items inside.
The two zipper pouches are detachable so you can adapt the bag to suit your style, and both are made from LV monogram-coated canvas for a stylish and durable finish, then embellished with a leather trim and gold hardware, including the chain shoulder strap. There is also a pink Louis Vuitton-branded webbing strap so you can wear this bag across the body too.
We love the smart and sophisticated look of this luxury handbag from Gucci! The Gucci Diana Small Tote Bag, which is named after Princess Diana since she was often spotted carrying this favorite handbag, is just stunning, crafted from luxe white leather and finished with gold hardware, including a GG logo on the front of the bag.
The best part is the curved bamboo top handles – such a unique addition and one that has been a signature part of the Gucci collection since they were first introduced in 1991. There is also a striped shoulder strap so you can style this bag in a variety of different ways.
Everyone needs the Gucci GG Marmont Small Shoulder Bag in their collection, with a chic look that will suit both day and night looks. This handbag is made from sumptuous black leather, quilted in a chevron pattern, for a striking textural finish, and embellished with a glittering gold GG logo.
The chunky gold chain strap features a leather shoulder strap, for comfort, and can be worn on the shoulder or across the body. Inside, there is plenty of room for all your day-to-day essentials plus a zipper pocket.
3. Bottega Veneta
The Bottega Veneta Mini Jodie Leather Hobo is an IT bag you really need in your life! This gorgeous designer bag is made from soft and supple nappa leather, woven using the signature Bottega Veneta intrecciato technique to create a textured finish.
We love the almost circular silhouette too, with a knotted top handle and a zip top to allow easy access to the compact interior. The eye-catching look of this Bottega bag makes it a great way to add a statement finish to any day or night outfit. Plus, there are lots of colors available, including neutral, bright, and pastel tones to suit any personal style.
The padded finish on this Bottega Veneta Padded Cassette Bag really accentuates the tactile, woven texture of the Bottega Veneta bag and the intrecciato technique they use.
This handbag has a structured silhouette, made from padded and woven plush nappa leather, with an adjustable leather strap that can be worn on the shoulder or across the body and a roomy interior fitted with a zip pocket. This would make the perfect everyday handbag that will add a glamorous, high-fashion touch to every outfit, and it retails for just $4,500.
4. Saint Laurent
This Saint Laurent Medium Loulou Matelassé Leather Shoulder Bag is a super practical option, with a stylish look. This spacious shoulder bag is made from supple, shiny calfskin leather, quilted in the Y shape that is synonymous with the Saint Laurent brand, and then decorated with a gold YSL logo.
The sliding chain strap works as a shoulder or crossbody strap for a versatile finish. Under the front flap, you will see that the interior is split into two compartments, divided by a zipper pocket, making it easy to keep everything well organized.
The Saint Laurent Lou Matelassé Leather Camera Bag works as a great everyday handbag, with a compact size that is ideal for your phone, keys, and wallet. This luxe camera bag has a sleek, rectangular silhouette and is made from shiny calfskin leather, quilted in a chevron pattern.
The front of the bag is embellished with a gold YSL logo, while a leather tassel decorates the crossbody strap. The zip-top allows easy access to the interior, fitted with a wall pocket.
The Celine Triomphe Bag has become a must-have luxury handbag this year, with a chic, minimalist aesthetic that is so trendy right now.
This bag has a structured silhouette for a smart look and is made from glossy patent pale green leather, then decorated with a gleaming gold CC triomphe logo. The green leather shoulder strap is adjustable, while the compact interior is lined with leather and fitted with a wall pocket.
The Belt Bag is an iconic handbag from the French fashion house, Celine, that has been a best-seller in their collection for many years. This gorgeous bag has a sharp silhouette with a grey front flap held in place by a knotted belt – just stunning.
There is a top handle and a shoulder strap so you can style this bag in different ways, while the grey textured leather is durable and ideal for everyday wear. Inside the bag you will find a suede lining and two interior pockets, making it easy to stay well-organized.
We hope you found this article answering the question, are luxury brands cheaper in China, helpful!