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欧洲奢华购物之旅专为中国豪客私人定制

Catering to the Chinese Shopper’s Grand Tour
欧洲奢华购物之旅专为中国豪客私人定制

PARIS — Xiaoyan Mao had not yet collected her luggage after landing at Charles de Gaulle Airport from Shanghai recently. But she and a friend were already mapping out a game plan for the three days they would spend in Paris before continuing a 10-day European blitz with additional stops in Switzerland, Italy and Germany.

巴黎——不久前的一天,毛晓燕(音译)从上海飞抵巴黎戴高乐机场。还没有领到行李,她就已经开始和一个朋友计划这三天在巴黎的行程。他们随后还会前往瑞士、意大利和德国,在欧洲共旅行10天。

Their to-do list included visiting the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. But what were they looking forward to most on their first trip to the region?

他们的计划包括参观卢浮宫和埃菲尔铁塔。但对于头一次来欧洲的游客,他们最期待的是什么?

Ms. Mao, 28, a sales manager, smiled broadly. “Chanel,” she said. “Prada.”

28岁的销售经理毛晓燕脸上露出灿烂的笑容。“香奈儿(Chanel),”她说,“普拉达(Prada)。”

Tourists like Ms. Mao are part of a growing wave of newly affluent Chinese taking advantage of more direct flights to the shopping capitals of Europe. The Lunar New Year holiday is now underway, a time when a big part of the 110 million Chinese expected to travel abroad this year will be packing their bags — and their wallets — for luxury expeditions.

随着直飞航班的增多,规模日益庞大的中国新贵正纷纷借此来到欧洲的购物之都,毛晓燕就是其中之一。正值农历新年假期,预计将有1.1亿人次的中国人出国旅游,其中很多人将带着旅行箱——还有钱包——开始一次奢侈品的探索之旅。

And purveyors of European luxury brands, anticipating the arrival of this important clientele, stand ready to embrace it, whether by offering guided tours, in Mandarin, of flagship showrooms; providing backstage access to couture runway shows; or engaging in a variety of other flourishes tailored for the Chinese tourist-shopper. American companies have been slower to attract the Chinese shopper, but some retailers, like Tiffany, have Mandarin-speaking staff or hold special events.

欧洲奢侈品供应商已经准备妥当,期待着这群重要客人的到来,包括提供配备普通话解说的旗舰展厅参观;提供到时装秀后台一探究竟的机会;以及一系列其他针对中国游客买家的高调活动。美国品牌在吸引中国购物者方面一直步伐缓慢,但是蒂芙尼(Tiffany)等零售商已经雇佣了说普通话的员工,或是举办了专题活动。

Storied European brands like Burberry, Hermès and Dior can be bought in high-end shops and shopping malls of major Chinese cities, of course. But for reasons including higher taxes in China and lower prices in Europe, Chinese consumers, who buy more luxury products than shoppers of any other nationality, prefer to do their buying abroad. Of the more than $80 billion in Chinese purchases of personal luxury goods last year, two-thirds were made outside China.

在中国大城市的高档商店和购物中心当然可以买到博柏利(Burberry)、爱马仕(Hermès)和迪奥(Dior)等知名欧洲品牌的产品。但是由于中国的税费更高、欧洲的价格便宜等原因,中国消费者更喜欢到国外购买这些东西。中国消费者购买奢侈品的数量为世界之最。去年中国人购买个人奢侈品的花费超800亿美元(约合4800亿元人民币),其中三分之二购买自国外。

Flagging demand in China itself was a factor cited last week by the Paris-based LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury goods group, for the company’s flat profit last year. That is all the more reason the company and many of its peers are starting to plow more money into European showcases and shift investments away from the Chinese mainland.

世界最大的奢侈品集团、总部位于巴黎的路威酩轩集团(LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton)上周表示,中国本土市场需求下降是该公司去年收益表现平平的一个原因。对这家公司以及许多同类公司来说,这也是它们开始向欧洲展厅投入更多资金,以及把投资从中国大陆转移出去的一个更好的理由。

Last year, for example, Louis Vuitton opened a three-store, 10,000-square-foot “townhouse,” complete with spinning glass elevator, atop a Selfridges department store on Oxford Street in London.

例如,去年,路易威登(Louis Vuitton)在伦敦牛津街上的一家塞尔福里奇百货商店(Selfridges)顶楼开辟了一个面积为1万平方英尺(约合930平方米)的“小楼”,包括三家店铺,还配有玻璃涡旋电梯。

“There is a major shift happening now with brands,” said Manelik Sfez, head of marketing for Global Blue, a tax-refund company in Geneva that tracks luxury purchases. “They are starting to reconsider their whole structure and the ways they market themselves.”

追踪奢侈品购买情况的日内瓦退税服务公司环球蓝联(Global Blue)负责市场营销的马尼里克·斯费(Manelik Sfez)说,“奢侈品制造商出现了一个重大转变。他们开始重新考虑他们的整个构架,以及营销方式。”

In catering to the Chinese shopper, some European makers of luxury goods seek to leverage their brands’ heritage and savoir-faire by conducting tours of their landmark European stores — or even setting up museums in them, as Vuitton has done with its “Espace Culturel” on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Others organize invitation-only demonstrations of the craftsmanship that goes into the products, which companies and analysts say holds a particular appeal for Chinese visitors.

为了满足中国购物者的需要,一些欧洲奢侈品制造商寻求利用其品牌的遗产和专长,提供在其地标性的欧洲店铺进行参观体验——甚至建立博物馆,比如路易威登在巴黎香榭丽舍大街上的路易威登艺术馆(Espace Culturel)。另外的一些品牌则组织了仅对受邀人士开放的产品技艺展示活动,一些公司和分析人士说,这种活动对中国游客来说格外有吸引力。

Gieves & Hawkes, the 240-year-old London tailor, for example, lures Chinese groups away from the bustle of Bond Street to its store at 1 Savile Row, which houses an extensive archive of royal and military regalia dating to the 18th century. The visit, which is translated by a Mandarin-speaking guide, includes a stop in the store’s bespoke workshop, where the company still hand-sews 1,000 suits a year.

例如,拥有240年历史的伦敦服装品牌吉凡克斯(Gieves & Hawkes)把一群群的中国游客从繁忙的邦德街吸引到了它位于萨维尔街1号的店里。这里展示了大量的皇家和军中的华美服装,可追溯到18世纪。一位说普通话的导游会为游客全程提供翻译服务,游客们还可以参观该店制作定制服装的作坊,在这里,吉凡克斯每年可手工缝制1000套套装。

“In terms of seeing all the components of a luxury brand, it is very immersive,” said Simon Baker, marketing director for the company, which has more than 100 stores in China. “Our Chinese guests are looking to learn what being dressed by a Savile Row tailor is all about, and why it is more luxurious and prestigious.”

吉凡克斯的市场营销总监西蒙·贝克(Simon Baker)说,“为了让游客看到一个奢侈品牌的所有组成部分,这提供了一种浸入式的感受。”该公司在中国有超过100家门店。“我们的中国顾客想要知道由一位萨维尔街店的裁缝为你量体裁衣意味着什么,为什么它更奢华、更有声望。”

The Italian design house Ermenegildo Zegna works with boutique travel agencies, and hotels favored by affluent Chinese, to offer V.I.P. tickets and backstage passes to its European fashion shows.

意大利服装公司杰尼亚(Ermenegildo Zegna)与中国富人青睐的精品旅行机构和酒店合作,提供其品牌欧洲时装秀的VIP门票和进入后台参观的机会。

Zegna has also followed brands like Louis Vuitton and Burberry, already active on the social media platform Sina Weibo, in creating an official account on the wildly popular mobile messaging service Weixin — known outside China as WeChat — to which the Chinese are turning more and more during their overseas travels. So has Harrods, the London department store, which counts Chinese visitors as its largest foreign customer group.

杰尼亚还学习路易威登和博柏利等品牌,在极其受欢迎的移动信息服务平台微信上创立了官方账户。中国人海外旅行时使用微信的频率越来越高。路易威登和博柏利在社交媒体平台新浪微博上也非常活跃。伦敦百货商店哈罗德(Harrods)也设立了微信账户,它把中国游客视作规模最大的海外客户群。

Such efforts are part of the image burnishing that analysts say is as important in marketing to these visiting consumers as selling individual wares.

这些努力都是为了提升品牌形象。分析人士说,在对这些游客消费者的营销过程中,提升形象和销售产品同样重要。

A Chinese tourist who returns home with a memorable experience to share can be a powerful ambassador for a brand, said Philip Guarino, co-founder of the consulting firm Emerging Market Luxury Advisors.

咨询公司新兴市场奢侈品顾问(Emerging Market Luxury Advisors)的联合创始人菲利普·格里诺(Philip Guarino)说,如果一名中国游客回国时带着值得分享的难忘记忆,他就是一位非常有影响力的品牌大使。

“You are dealing with a demographic, not a geography, so you need to think in nongeographic terms,” Mr. Guarino said. “Some brands have 150 store locations in China alone,” he said. “But their cash registers are in Europe and the United States.” 纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com

格里诺说,“你面对的是一个族群概念,而不是地理概念,因此你需要摒弃地理上的思考方式。有些品牌单在中国就有150家门店,但是他们的主要利润来自欧美。”

Just how dependent the European luxury sector has become on Chinese visitors became starkly evident late last year. In October, China passed a consumer-protection law prohibiting travel agencies from subsidizing group tours to Europe by including mandatory stops at high-end department stores like Galeries Lafayette in Paris or La Rinascente in Milan.

欧洲的奢侈品行业对中国游客的依赖在去年年末被突显了出来。10月,中国通过了一项消费者保护法规,禁止旅行社通过让赴欧洲旅行的游客在高档百货商店停留来谋取利益。这些高档商店包括巴黎的老佛爷百货(Galeries Lafayette)和米兰的文艺复兴百货(la Rinascente)。

Beijing considered the practice — whereby mass-market agencies used commissions from retailers to offset deeply discounted package tours — to be misleading. Mr. Sfez, of Global Blue, estimated that before the law changed, such captive buying represented roughly 40 percent of all Chinese luxury purchases in Europe.

中国政府认为这种做法——大众市场旅行机构利用来自零售商的回扣来抵消旅费打折带来的损失,具有误导性。环球蓝联的斯费估计,在这项法律出台前,这种引导性消费大约占中国人在欧洲奢侈品消费的40%。

The law had a striking effect on Chinese tourists’ luxury spending in the fourth quarter, halving sales growth across the European Union to 9.5 percent compared with growth rates of 20 percent or more in the preceding three quarters of last year.

这项规定对第四季度中国游客的奢侈品消费造成了显著影响,整个欧盟地区的销量增幅减半,为9.5%,而去年前三个季度的增幅均达到20%或更高。

But analysts do not expect a reversal of the broader trend, because higher prices in China compel so many Chinese to prefer shopping overseas. Luxury handbags, which might sell for $1,000 to $5,000, cost on average nearly a third less in Europe than in mainland China, according to Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank. Markups by Western brands are common in China, where foreign companies must navigate a thicket of red tape to do business and pay high rents for premium retailing space.

但分析人士并不认为整体趋势会逆转,因为奢侈品在中国市场的高价使许多中国人倾向于海外购物。俄罗斯投资银行复兴资本(Renaissance Capital)说,售价一般在1000美元到5000美元之间的奢侈手袋,在欧洲要比在中国大陆平均便宜将近三分之一。西方品牌在中国的售价普遍更高。要在中国做生意,外国企业必须应付错综复杂的官僚手续,并为优质零售店面支付高昂租金。

The price gap is further widened by China’s high taxes on consumers. On top of an import duty of 10 percent, Beijing levies a value-added tax of 17 percent and sales taxes that can range from 5 percent to 20 percent, depending on the item. Some other Chinese cities add taxes as well.

由于中国对消费者课以重税,价差进一步扩大。除了10%的进口关税,国税系统还征收17%的增值税,以及与货品种类挂钩的5%到20%的消费税。部分地方另会增加其他税赋。

Foreign visitors to the European Union who spend more than 175 euros, or $236, in the same store on the same day, meanwhile, are entitled to a rebate on the value-added tax, which in most member states hovers around 20 percent.

另一方面,欧盟地区的境外游客同一天在单一店铺消费满175欧元(约合1450元人民币)的话,就能享受增值税退税的待遇。在大部分的欧盟成员国里,这一税率在20%左右。

Chinese consumers’ embrace of the Internet and social media platforms like Sina Weibo has also increased access to information about luxury goods abroad, allowing them to comparison shop before they even board a plane. Applications like Weixin let people share their foreign shopping experiences in real time, check prices and send photos as they weigh their purchases — or even take orders on behalf of friends back home.

中国消费者热衷于上网,以及新浪微博等社交平台。这让他们越来越多地接触到海外奢侈品的信息,能够在跳上飞机前就比较店铺。微信等应用使得人们可以实时分享在海外的购物经历,考虑购买的时候能够比价并传送图片,乃至帮国内的友人下单。

Armed with these digital tools, a growing number of Chinese travelers, particularly younger ones, are forgoing the classic group tours and venturing abroad independently. That trend, with the ban on commission-subsidized tours, is driving more tourists to explore beyond the big European flagship stores in the fanciest districts, analysts said.

目前有越来越多带着这些数码工具的中国旅客,特别是年轻旅客,放弃了传统的团体旅游,独自到国外旅行。分析人士说,这个趋势(加上对使用回扣补贴旅行团团费的禁令)开始促使越来越多的游客走出位于最时髦街区的大型欧洲旗舰店去探索新的天地。

It also exposes entrenched legacy brands to intense competition in China from increasingly popular rivals like Bottega Veneta of Italy or Mulberry of Britain.

随着意大利的Bottega Veneta和英国玛百莉(Mulberry)等竞争对手越来越受欢迎,这也让一些历史悠久的传统品牌在中国面临激烈挑战。

That means the bigger design and fashion houses will need to be more nimble than ever in adapting to the changing habits of their Chinese clientele, according to Federica Levato, a luxury analyst in Milan at the management consultants Bain & Company.

咨询公司贝恩(Bain & Company)驻米兰的奢侈品分析师费代丽卡·莱瓦托(Federica Levato)表示,这意味着大型设计和时装公司在适应中国客户不断变化的习惯方面,应该比以往更加敏锐。

“If they don’t catch up quickly, they will become less competitive,” Ms. Levato said. “Just as they anticipate fashion trends, they now have to anticipate changes in consumer behavior.”

“如果他们不赶紧跟上,竞争力就会越来越差,”莱瓦托说。“正如对流行趋势的预测那样,他们现在也必须预测消费者行为的变化。”

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