September 4, 2007 / 7:54 AM / 12 years ago

MasterCard sees Asia luxury mkt growing 12 pct/yr

HONG KONG, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Demand for luxury goods and services in Asia could grow by 12 percent a year to reach US$258.7 billion in 2016, reflecting the region’s rising affluence, MasterCard projected on Tuesday.

In China and India, the fastest-growing of Asia’s major economies, demand for luxury items will be led by those under 35 who are either single or married with no children, according to the credit card company’s forecast.

In the rest of the region it will be those who are over 60, either retired or still working, driving demand as they have accumulated wealth and have time to spend and travel, the company said.

In Australia the average age of an owner of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle was 55 in 2005, while in Japan women over the age of 55 are the most active in Internet travel bookings after the under-25s.

Japanese have the longest life expectancy in the world, followed by Hong Kongers, and older Asian consumers are living increasingly active lives.

However, since they tend to live in small apartments in cities like Tokyo and Hong Kong, they will tend to spend more on luxury services like travel rather than goods, MasterCard said.

Demand in Japan for luxury goods and services among older premium consumers — or the top third of wealthy retired households — may more than double to US$67.8 billion by 2016, from US$27 billion in 2006, MasterCard estimates.

In China and India, luxury demand is being spurred by young, urban professionals whose incomes are rising fast. They are keener on buying goods than services.

MasterCard sees demand in China for luxury goods and services among young premium consumers — the top third of income earners aged under 35 with no children — rising to US$26.4 billion by 2016 from US$10.4 billion last year. That would still lag Japan’s young premium market, which is expected to total US$35.2 billion by 2016.

India would be Asia’s third-biggest market, although much smaller, with demand from young premium consumers more than doubling in the next decade to US$6.6 billion by 2016, according to MasterCard.

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