This month's Monocle magazine plays "Spot the Shopper" at one of China's cavernous new luxury malls. Have a look -- there's barely a shopper in sight. We've been hearing similar reports about luxury malls and stores in Russia, and the (admittedly anecdotal) fashion grapevine says that luxury stores in India are struggling as well. Add this to the economic uncertainty sweeping through the global economy and it's enough to step back and wonder: is this whole Asian luxury explosion overstated?
Not according to Radha Chadha, a leading expert on Asia's luxury boom and co-author of the book The Cult of the Luxury Brand: Inside Asia's Love Affair With Luxury. Turns out that some companies and luxury projects are just not well conceived to begin with, and these ones are likely to fail. However, other players are scoring major successes in Asia, especially those that have been present in the region for some time.
We reached Radha Chadha in her Hong Kong offices to better understand the impact of the global economic downturn on the luxury boom in China and India and to get Radha's views on which brands are best positioned to dominate the market there.