Japanese Consumers Travel Overseas for Cheaper Luxury Goods.

August 13, 2010 • Shopping


So that's why I always see so many Japanese tourist in all my travels; they're there to shop! It's so much cheaper for them to just get their Gucci or Prada fix at places like Hawaii or Europe, where they don't have to pay an exorbitant mark-up of about 50 to 60 percent like they do in their own country.

Lets put this huge price difference into perspective. A wrap dress from Diane Von Furstenberg cost about 66,000 yen or $754 in Japan, while we pay about $325-$375 for the same dress in the U.S.!

Apparently, this ridiculous pricing discrepancy has been going on for decades now since the introduction of finer goods to Japan and the consumers warped impression of higher prices equals better quality has fueled this irregularity even more.

Currently speaking, the Japanese have started to embrace price comparison shopping like we do stateside to help curb the cost. They're also frequenting outlet malls, buy overseas while on vacation, or just forgoing luxury and consuming fast fashion (Nooooo!).

With the Japanese consumer diverting the spending money elsewhere, the demand for luxury goods have gone down but the prices are still up there. Brand representatives from Chanel and Prada argue that their prices are right on target with everyone else in the luxury category. Factors like transportation, taxes and exchange rates play a big part in how much an item cost once it hits the sales floor. A logical explanation that seem to fall on deaf ears as Asian consumers forge forward in finding the, "bigger and better deal".

To conclude, if high-end brands want to keep their buyers in Japan happy, they're going have to level the pricing field a little or risk losing a sizable chunk of their Asian market. What company wants that in this kind of loss in this volatile economy? Not one of them, I bet, since they probably can't afford that luxury.

-Yen Le

Photo: associated press

Source:  wwd

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