Chinese consumers of luxury products are spending increasingly big money online, as growing use of smartphones makes Internet shopping ever easier, according to a new industry report.
The report, by auditor KPMG, Chinese e-retailer Mei.com and Twitter equivalent Sina Weibo, analyzed survey responses from more than 10,000 luxury consumers.
Forty-five percent said they purchased most of their luxury items online. The maximum amount most felt comfortable paying online for a single item was 4,200 yuan (661 U.S. dollars), more than double the figure in 2014, the first time this research was undertaken.
"China is the largest market in the world and will lead global e-commerce. The smartphone is the most commonly used device for retail; we expect mobile commerce expenditure to soon far exceed the PC internet platform, as Chinese consumers become more sophisticated," said Egidio Zarrella, clients and innovation partner at KPMG China.
The average expenditure was 28 percent higher than in 2014. Chinese consumers are now spending around 2,300 yuan in each luxury transaction.
The top driver for purchasing online remains pricing. However, close to one-third of the respondents had made luxury online purchases at the full, non-discounted price. The report's authors said this was an important development as factors including product origin and uniqueness are starting to have more of an impact on purchases.
"Price is becoming less of a driver. But value remains important as customers are well informed about global prices, since most of them travel physically or digitally," said Thibault Villet, CEO of Mei.com.
In addition to luxury items, the survey found an increase in online transactions for luxury services, including hotel and restaurant bookings and travel.
There are also large numbers of Chinese buying luxury items from abroad online. Forty-eight percent had done so in the previous 12 months.