This year at the Walpole China Luxury Conferencein London there were actually bears in the room — and they weren’t panda bears.
Last year attendees, still having post-traumatic stress from 2008 to 2009, asked the question could China save the U.S. in another downturn? The sentiment was a resounding yes. China was hailed as the savior that would offset weakness in the U.S. luxury market.
This year, with our fears firmly set on the European market, there is a similar question: Can China save Europe? But there is a different response.
With less positive data out of the U.S., and well let's face it, terrible data out of Europe, there is more pressure than ever on China.
Just listen to any retail conference call. It’s all about China. And when data points from Burberry and LVMH recently suggested the mainland economy might be slowing (not to mention today’s disappointing trade data ), it became all about the Chinese traveler spending money overseas, which is holding up better than spending on the mainland).
As one attendee at the conference put it, don’t look at China as a geography, look at it as a demographic. Whether you analyze Chinese spending by region or as a group, it still won't save Europe.
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