Womenomics: The Female Economy Powering Global Luxury Spending

In the words of Mao Zedong ‘women hold up half the sky’. Not only this but Chinese women now hold up entire industries. In a far cry from outdated stereotypical gender roles, the modern Chinese woman is an economic powerhouse who stands at the forefront of global luxury spending. Chinese consumers account for 30% of global luxury spending, and 70% of this growth has been led by China’s affluent middle class, millennials and female consumers. More financial and social independence, social stability and higher disposable incomes afforded means women are spending more on themselves, so luxury brands are raising the bar to satisfy their demands.

It’s a (wo)man’s world

A report from Julius Baer describes the face of wealth in China as ‘young, self-made, and female’. There are more women now than ever holding senior professional positions enjoying abundant financial freedom and purchasing power, and China has produced the highest numbers of self-made female billionaires - although if the wage gap compared with their male counterparts is anything to go by, it is an indication of the purchasing power brands can expect to come.

The catchphrase ‘Womenomics’ has been thrown around more and more, spurred on by the increase of female economic presence. It has become common practice for Chinese women to make considerable long term and heavy financial investments in products they consider beneficial to their public image. All in the name of self-improvement, be that cosmetics, jewellery, fashion, academic or health and fitness, spending on personal items and luxury goods is habitual behaviour amongst affluent urban women. Spending on personal experiences such as travel, group travel as well as solo travel, is seeing more growth among female consumers.

Data from Ctrip shows that in China, six out of ten solo travellers are female (although girlfriend trips and shopping trips have not fallen out of favour, with 62% of hotel bookings made near shopping malls). International luxury hotels have opened their doors to these Free Independent Travellers (FIT) who include globe-trotting bloggers, adventurers and foodies. There's still a huge opportunity for brands to get to know this key market.

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