South Korea Tops Global List of Luxury Splurging


| LAST UPDATE 07/06/2023

By Tracy Morrison
luxury spending top global
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Imagine a world of exquisite taste, where the desire for luxury goods knows no bounds. A realm where Chanel bags and Rolex watches are not just mere possessions, but symbols of affluence and sophistication. Welcome to the fascinating universe of the luxury market, where one nation has emerged as the ultimate connoisseur of opulence. The prestige belongs to none other than South Korea, which now holds the title of the world's largest spender on luxury goods per capita.

The allure of luxury has always captivated consumers worldwide, and this trend shows no signs of abating. A recent analysis by Morgan Stanley paints a vivid picture of the South Korean luxury landscape, revealing a staggering 24% increase in expenditure on luxury goods in 2022, amounting to €15.4 billion or about €300 per capita. This illustrious spending far outshines the €46 and €234 per capita splurged by Chinese and American luxury enthusiasts. This surge in demand for luxury goods is fueled by a plethora of factors, including an upsurge in purchasing power and an unquenchable aspiration to showcase social status. In the Korean societal fabric, unabashed displays of wealth have become a norm rather than an exception. A McKinsey survey corroborates this, highlighting that a mere 22% of Koreans perceive flaunting luxury goods as distasteful, compared to 45% of Japanese and 38% of Chinese respondents.

luxury Prada South Korea
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The South Korean luxury market has been on an upward trajectory in recent years, a growth further propelled by the COVID-19 pandemic. As consumers pivoted towards online shopping, luxury brands witnessed a remarkable boost in their e-commerce sales. This luxury frenzy in South Korea has proven to be a boon for brands. Moncler, for instance, saw its revenue in South Korea more than double in 2022 compared to 2019. Similarly, the Richemont Group, owner of esteemed brands such as Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, has also experienced significant sales growth in this Southeast Asian nation.

The lure of luxury in South Korea extends beyond mere consumerism, with luxury brands also leveraging the country's colossal entertainment industry to bolster their sales. Dior's recent appointment of BTS star Jimin as a global brand ambassador is a testament to this strategy. This announcement solidifies Jimin's friendship with the iconic French label and continues his bond with Kim Jones, the artistic director of menswear. Jones' prior work designing stage outfits for the globally celebrated K-pop band further cements the synergy between Dior and Jimin. Indeed, South Korea's passion for luxury is a compelling narrative of elegance, opulence, and unapologetic indulgence. It's an intriguing tale that continues to unfold, leaving a lasting imprint on the global luxury landscape.

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