Mega Spending

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By 2015 the world will have 33 mega-cities with populations of over 10 million and more than 500 cities with populations of over 1 million.

More important, by 2025, 10 cities in China are projected to have populations over 10 million.

Chinese mainland tourists spent more on shopping in 2010 than any other population according to the first Chinese Luxury Traveler White Paper. The report revealed mainland tourists consumed 17% percent of the global shopping market, a 91% percent increase from 2009. China was followed by Russia (16%), Japan and the United States (5 % each) and Indonesia (4%).

Watches and jewelry lead the list of favorite products purchased by Chinese followed by garments and fashion accessories. It's clear that high-spending tourism is big business but it's unclear for how long.

"Even greater partnerships and opportunity between top tier global brands and China local companies will ensue," said Betsy Connolly, a business development consultant with more than 20 years experience in global apparel manufacturing. "The China customer is a key focus of brand growth strategy including the speed of new product innovation, product manufacturing processes and service models."

China, the world's second-largest luxury goods market, is planning on making those goods more accessible by slashing import duties on opulent items to encourage wealthy local shoppers to buy more pricey cosmetics, watches and liquor, reported Channel News Asia. The high import duties, 50% for cosmetics and 30% for high-end watches, drive many Chinese consumers to shop for luxury goods in Hong Kong, London and Paris- a trend that several Chinese ministries want to change.

Currently prices of 20 luxury brand products are 45% higher than those in Hong Kong, 51% higher than U.S. prices, and 72% higher than French prices, a study by China's commerce ministry showed.

As luxury brands face gloomy prospects in North America and Europe, China is poised to be the key player in consumer spending. 

Prepare for a lot of mega-shopping!