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Packaging luxury to a nicety

By Zheng Yiran | China Daily | Updated: 2019-03-04 10:10
[Photo by Ma Xuejing and Su Jingbo/China Daily]

Consumption upgrade, rush for fine goods brighten growth prospects of rich-paper firms

As China's top legislature prepares to meet for its annual session beginning Tuesday, nearly 3,000 deputies, or lawmakers, will note with interest that consumption upgrade, which they had endorsed last year as key to economic growth in the new era, has borne fruit in the form of Chinese consumers' growing demand for high-quality goods, including luxury products.

This year, they will likely note that luxury packaging, which is key to the success of the luxury goods market, is much sought after in China, thanks to consumers such as Hu Min, 35, a Beijing-based media professional.

Hu saves enough to afford luxury goods occasionally because the way such stuff is packaged fascinates her. "Attractive luxury packaging can be a real turn-on. Lipstick in gorgeous packaging - who can resist that? I, for one, can't. I won't hesitate to buy it, even if it's not the perfect color."

Luxury packaging helps make products look appealing and desirable indeed, prompting consumers such as Hu to spend more.

As a business segment, specialty packaging has spawned a few iconic firms, and is fast evolving into an exacting science, boosting sales of luxury goods - cosmetics, fragrances, confectionery, gourmet food and drinks, watches, jewellery, premium alcoholic drinks, tobacco - in China. It is also promising to attract big investments, thus helping deepen the ongoing consumption upgrade in the country.

Over to Hu: "I spend roughly 30,000 yuan ($4,479) on luxuries every year. Sometimes, I buy luxury gifts for my friends. And when I do, I pay particular attention to packaging. Good packaging can make a great first impression on people. It, of course, adds luster to the gift. I think packaging is very important for luxury goods. A luxury product without beautiful packaging is incomplete."

It's not just females who are impressed. Wang Peng, 25, a software engineer in Shanghai, said: "When I buy a pair of expensive earrings to give as a gift to my girlfriend, I select the product that comes with a good-looking box, so that she can put the earrings into it when she's not wearing them. Packaging is part of the luxury."

The luxury packaging business worldwide is hoping to ride the preferences of consumers such as Hu and Wang to reach a market value of $17.6 billion by this year-end, up 4.4 percent over 2018, with Asia driving growth, a latest industry report said.

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