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人民币贬值,奢侈品牌很受伤

Phil Wahba 2015年08月13日

就在中国消费者奢侈品支出持续下降时,最新发生的人民币贬值令许多西方奢侈品牌面临雪上加霜的困境。

    经历了中国政府反铺张浪费的冲击和中国经济增长放缓的持续影响,竞逐中国这个全球第二大奢侈品市场的西方品牌又面临新的增长阻力:中国央行本周二(8月11日)意外将人民币汇率中间价下调2%,单日降幅创十年新高。

    从普拉达、宝马、Coach到蒂凡尼,对各类高端品牌而言,中国近些年都是其重要的盈利增长源,削弱了欧洲、美国这类成熟市场增长放缓带来的影响。其中美国市场放缓的幅度较小,仍是全球头号奢侈品市场。(两年前中国超越日本,坐上全球奢侈品市场的第二把交椅。)

    人民币贬值意味着,中国消费者在购买国外商品时要花更多的人民币。而更让国际品牌担忧的是,它也可能抑制中国民众赴日本、法国或美国境外旅游的热情。中国游客喜欢在海外购买鳄鱼皮包、金表等各类奢侈品。摩根士丹利新近的一项研究发现,中国消费者一半以上的奢侈品购买行为都发生在大中华区以外地区。去年,中国游客海外游的消费额达到创纪录的5000亿美元。

    欧洲股市已经体现出了上述担忧,意大利顶级奢侈品牌Salvatore Ferragamo和Tod’s、法国奢侈品集团LVMH、卡地亚的母公司开云集团等一批奢侈品企业的股价剧跌。在美国,Coach和蒂凡尼这类奢侈品公司股价同样回落,尽管跌幅较轻微。

    中国经济下行对奢侈品行业的负面影响已经持续了一段时间:全球管理咨询公司贝恩的数据显示,2014年,中国内地奢侈品市场规模降至人民币1150亿元(约合180亿美元),实际上较2013年萎缩了1%。这部分源于中国政府抵制企业赠送高价手表和香槟的行动,政府将这些赠礼视为贿赂。今年5月,贝恩预计,今年中国的奢侈品市场规模将收缩4%,消费者会对价格越来越敏感。这还是在人民币此次贬值以前的预测。

    对于Coach这样的公司来说,中国市场疲弱是个大问题。它在美国的业务正经历大滑坡,2014财年销售额锐减了20%。该公司预计,2015财年,中国市场的年销售额将增至6亿美元,约占财年总销售额的14%。因此,如果延续上季度在中国市场的疲态,可比销售额(去除新开或者关闭门店影响后)继续下滑,对Coach来说恐怕难以承受。

    考虑到中国消费者更热衷于海外购物的行为偏好,人民币贬值将给奢侈品牌带来双重打击。(上周Coach表示,日本市场之所以销售大旺,很大程度上要归功于当地涌入大量中国游客。)

    当前的人民币贬值会对中国人的奢侈品消费产生多大影响,还有待观察。但有一件事可以让西方奢侈品牌略感安慰:中国的高净值人群正在迅速增长。同样来自贝恩的数据显示,去年,资产净值达到人民币1000万元(约合160万美元)以上的中国公民增至100万人,人数是四年前的两倍。这部分中国“1%”人群消减开销的可能性较小。(财富中文网)

    译者:Pessy

    校对:詹妮

    Already reeling from a Chinese government crackdown on conspicuous spending and a slowing economy there, Western brands face a new obstacle to growth in the second largest luxury market in the world to contend with: a surprise 2% devaluation of China’s yuan on Tuesday, its biggest one-day move in a decade.

    For high-end brands from Prada and BMW to Coach COH -1.30% and Tiffany & Co TIF -2.10% , China has in recent years been a key source of growth, helping them mitigate slowing growth in mature markets like Europe and to a lesser extent the United States, still the largest luxury market. (China surpassed Japan as the #2 luxe market two years ago.)

    The devaluation means that foreign goods become pricier for Chinese consumers in their own currency, but more worryingly, it is also likely to curb Chinese tourism to places like Japan, France and the United States, where many prefer to buy their alligator-skin handbags or gold watches anyway. A recent Morgan Stanley study found that more than half of sales made to China’s luxury consumers happen outside of greater China. Last year, Chinese tourists spent a record $500 billion on overseas vacations.

    In Europe, shares of a slew of companies, including Salvatore Ferragamo, Tod’s, LVMH and Cartier parent Kering reflected those worries, falling sharply, while U.S. companies Coach and Tiffany were down too, though only slightly.

    The slowdown in China’s economy has been weighing on the luxury sector for some time: in 2014, the high-end goods market actually shrank 1% to 115 billion Renminbi ($18 billion), according to Bain & Co. Some of that also stemmed from a crackdown on corporate gift-giving of super pricey watches and champagne deemed to be bribery by Chinese government. In May, Bain said that it expected China’s luxury market to contract by as much as 4% this year, with shoppers growing more price sensitive. And that was before the latest news.

    For a company like Coach, a weak China is a big problem. With its U.S. business collapsing (20% drop last fiscal year), the leather-goods maker has seen its China sales grow to $600 million a year, or 14% of sales for fiscal 2015. So it can ill afford to see comparable sales (which strip out the impact of new or closed stores) continue to fall, as they did in China last quarter.

    It is also a double whammy because of how Chinese consumers often spend more on vacation abroad. (Coach said last week that an uptick in Japan sales had a lot to do with an influx of visitors there.)

    While it remains to be seen how much of a dent the current movement will have on luxury spending by the Chinese, luxe brands can take solace in one thing: the ranks of China’s high net worth individuals is swelling. According to Bain, the number of Chinese with a net worth of at least 10 million renminbi ($1.6 million) hit 1 million last year, double what it was just four years ago. And China’s 1% is much less likely to cut back on spending.

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