January 20, 2015 / 5:55 AM / 3 years ago

Year of the Goat: Luxury brands flock to China's jet-set spenders

GRAPHIC: Chinese luxury spending: reut.rs/1ywRU5X

By Adam Jourdan SHANGHAI, Jan 20 (Reuters) - From Paris to New York, purveyors of luxury goods are teaching staff Mandarin, offering traditional New Year "hongbao" gifts and flocking to social media sites as well-heeled Chinese tourists pack their bags to ring in the Year of the Goat abroad.

Chinese shoppers spent around 380 billion yuan ($61.13 billion) on luxury products worldwide last year, with spending outside China up 21 percent even as domestic sales of high-end brands dipped for the first time due to a government clampdown on excessive gift-giving, according to a report from consultancy Bain & Co on Tuesday.

Tiffany & Co, Macy's Inc, Prada SpA and Christian Dior SA have made moves to woo Chinese shoppers, who spend far more on luxury brands abroad than at home due to greater variety, lower prices and favourable foreign exchange rates. Top destinations include South Korea, Japan, Britain, France, Italy, Germany and the United States, a 2014 report from the World Tourism Cities Federation shows.

"Travelling Chinese shoppers are the alpha consumers of global commerce today, with pent-up demand for high-quality goods at home leading them to overindulge in spending abroad," said Sage Brennan, CEO of U.S.-based China Luxury Advisors.

The annual Lunar New Year holiday, which starts on Feb. 18 this year, is a high season for consumer spending. Last year, the week-long holiday drew around 200 billion yuan of spending by Chinese shoppers using top Chinese bank card UnionPay, according to the Chinese payment provider. That was an increase of 23 percent over 2013, and included spending abroad. ($1 = 6.2160 renminbi) (Editing by Ryan Woo)

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