Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Japanese Luxury

We have all been shocked and astounded by the events of the last few weeks in Japan. It was not immediately apparent how these events would affect the world of luxury and fashion. The funny thing is that almost immediately the news broke out, shares in the luxury fashion companies Louis Vuitton and Burberry fell. The markets understood why. Markets never lie. The truth is always in the share price.

The fact is that the Japanese are avid shoppers of all luxury brands, but Louis Vuitton and Burberry in particular. The figures tell the story that a significant part of all sales of Louis Vuitton and Burberry sales come from Japan. These figures do not even take into account sales to the Japanese outside Japan which must also be quite considerable.

 If you have ever visited the Louis Vuitton shop on the Champs Elysees in Paris, you will know what I am talking about. It is like an invasion. The Japanese queue up outside, and often the shop has to restrict entry and sales to the Japanese to one item each. Can you imagine that? You have clients who want to buy up all your goods, so you make them queue up outside, and also restrict them to only one product!

 Sometimes the Japanese are so desperate to buy more, they will approach total strangers in the street and offer to pay them money to enter the store to purchase more goods for them, and offering the strangers good money just to complete this task.

Some years back, stories surfaced about Japanese businessmen and their phantom golf trips. The businessmen would tell their wives they were going on a business golf trip to meet up with clients abroad. They would carefully pack all their golf equipment, and then dump it at the lockers at Tokyo airport. Afterwards, they would head to Bangkok or Manila for sex trips. On their return, they would make sure they collected their golf bags before returning home, fully satisfied.

These days I am sure the Japanese women are getting their own back on their men. They are obviously telling their men folk they are visiting their mothers for a week or so, dumping their children at their mothers, before heading for the airport to meet up with their girl friends for the trip to Paris or London.They then indulge in their own
 kind of orgy. An orgy of buying luxury goods.

If you are lucky you may see these Japanese at the airport flying back to Tokyo. They are quite difficult to spot, but with a discerning eye you may be able to identify them. They will probably be discreetly wearing LV sunglasses, with a LV scarf, and a LV belt, a couple of LV handbags, LV shoes, topped by a LV hat. You get the picture don’t you?

They say that 94% of all the women in Tokyo have a Louis Vuitton handbag. Now that’s what I call penetration! So why do the Japanese go mad over luxury brands like Louis Vuitton? A European would probably buy a luxury product because their friends do not have it, but the Japanese will buy a luxury product exactly because their friends have it. It’s called keeping up with the Jones’; I wonder how you say that in Japanese?

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