Julius Bär on ‘Womenomics’: China’s affluent women are the big spenders

Spending big money on expensive gifts used to be thing that men in China did with the goal to smoothen business. But as anti-graft measures took effect and the practice of gift-giving among businessmen became a thing of the past, something peculiar happened. Women have become the big spenders, private banker Julius Bär found in a recent survey. The trend even has a name: ‘Womenomics’.  

Julius Bär is a Swiss multinational private bank with offices in China. To better know and understand their future clients in China, the bank conducted a survey on spending habits of the top layer of China’s society.  

Purchasing power of women 

The Wealth Report Asia 2018 survey shows that modern wealth in Asia – specifically in China – is increasingly young, self-created and female. Many women in China hold top management positions, many of them have even become self-made millionaires. “The purchasing power of women in Asia is increasingly gaining recognition, with more women in senior management positions and becoming more financially savvy,” the reports states, adding that while China is an undisputable champion in luxury spending, female buyers account for most of it. “The rising tide of female wealth in Asia bears close watching. Asian women consumers and investors are shaping the future of various industries,” Julius Baer analysts say in the report. 

Buying cars 

The buying power of women is a force to be reckoned with, driven by several factors. China is among the countries with the highest percentage (35%) of women in managerial positions. With the rise in spending power, women are also spending more on products that were traditionally viewed as masculine domains. Cars, which are increasingly seen by females as a status symbol, constitute the highest proportion of spending among affluent females in China. In a survey by Audi, women are spending more on cars nowadays not only because of their functional properties, but also because of the design and brand prestige. 


The profile of the big-spending consumer that international brands should keep in mind? Young, female, increasingly fashion-conscious, free with spending and active on social media, the Julius Bär analysts insist. “Driven by the ease of online shopping and financial support from parents, Chinese female millennials are buttressing the luxury market at home and abroad.” 

The researchers found that the brand consciousness of this young female demographic has also convinced major brands to adopt more fashion cues into their products and marketing efforts. Samsung has collaborated with fashion brands such as Swarovski to produce phone covers. Audi sponsored events such as The Hong Kong Fashion Extravaganza to enhance its brand prestige.  

Deployment of assets 

As more women generate their own wealth, they are increasingly controlling the deployment of their assets. The vast majority of women surveyed across China (87%), India (80%), Hong Kong (71%) and Singapore (59%) are financial decision makers in their households, exceeding the US (44%). 

For international brands, operating in China, the good news is that money is being spent. And it is increasingly being spent by women. “Women consumers and investors are shaping the future of various industries. The world would do well to sit up and take note of this demographic”, the Julius Bär report concludes. 

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