|JAPAN'S LUXURY PRODUCT SALES INCREASE|
TOKYO, Japan -- Japan's young, affluent women are shopping for luxury goods in record numbers -- buying Gucci, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Cartier,
and other high-end brands. Despite Japan's recession, sales of these luxury goods are selling well again.
Cartier's sales were up 10% and are expected to reach record levels; sales at Louis Vuitton Japan were also up by 8% since last year.
Young Japanese women 25 - 35 account for this growth in sales. They perceive the brands as high quality and enduring, with styles that transcend time. Moreover, because many of these Japanese consumers feel that a quality product can be used for a long time, they perceive such an expensive purchase as a selective purchase that will retain its value. However, this market segment is not as free-spending as in the past. They tend to be a little more frugal these days; that is, they continue to purchase luxury items, but perhaps less frequently.
For high-end brands, Japan is an important market. 40% of Japanese women own at least one Louis Vuitton product. About half of Louis Vuitton's sales are made to Japanese customers, with 30% of sales made in Japan. And Japan's sales represent 30% of Celine's market and 30% of the market for Loewe's.
Japan's economic crisis has changed the way that upscale brands are sold in this market. Until recently, high-end brands were sold in department stores, hotel shops, etc. But because of the decline in real estate prices, many of these companies have begun to open shops of their own. For example, Louis Vuitton now has 41 direct-run stores in Japan.
FURNITURE IMPORTS APPEAL TO SOPHISTICATED JAPANESE TASTES ON A LIMITED BUDGET
TOKYO, Japan -- Japan's 20-something working woman,on a budget, is looking for style, simplicity, design and sophistication to furnish her trendy apartment. And the need is being met through furniture importers -- whose styles have changed dramatically in recent years. Previously, imported furniture was dark and heavy -- and European. Today's imports are lighter, more contemporary styles that appeal to a youth market on a budget. One major furniture retailer in Japan reports that imports accounted for 48% of sales last year, up from 31% four years earlier. The imported furniture market is now estimated at 822.9 billion yen, nearly double the market size from 1992.
CHINA -- According to a new law in China passed by the Chinese National People's Congress, contracts between foreign and Chinese contracting parties will now be more evenly enforced. In addition, oral contracts will now be permitted in China. Although this appears favorable for foreign businesses, contractual clauses are still left to the interpretation of the courts.
INDONESIA -- The Indonesian government now permits foreigners to own 100% of Indonesian parent companies. This new ruling holds true for all industries except airlines.
DIET DRINKS PERMITTED FOR SALE IN INDIA
EBAY MOVES INTO EUROPE
MUMBAI, India -- In June 1999, Pepsi Cola was first to market in India with its Diet Cola brand,
following a ruling to permit diet beverages to be sold in the country. However, shortly after the Diet
Pepsi brand hit store shelves, India's health ministry changed its position on diet drinks, now requiring
them to contain 5% sucrose -- which is inconsistent with Pepsi's diet formulation. Sources speculate that
Coca-Cola company is responsible for the lobby against Pepsi's first to market launch. Nevertheless,
Diet Pepsi is said to be selling well in India.
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LONDON, UK -- The US-headquartered eBay auction site recently opened their first European
headquarters in London. Their goal is to quickly expand throughout the continent. The UK version of eBay
was launched in April 1999, followed by the German site in June through an acquisition of Alando.de.
EBay is one of the largest auction sites in the world, with more than 2 million items posted worldwide. EBAY
in Europe also has links to AOL Europe with links from selected AOL pages.
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