Source: Xinhua | 2013-2-28 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
SALES of luxury goods on the Chinese mainland, a fast growing market for the sector in recent years, are on the decline as the country fights corruption and extravagance.
"Sales have dropped a lot," said a salesman at a Parker pens store on Shanghai's Fuzhou Road.
The salesman, who declined to be identified, said that in the past customers purchased pens as gifts and sales of those costing more than 10,000 yuan (US$1,591) were good.
But in the past month, which included the traditional Spring Festival, usually a good season for expensive goods, many luxury brands have been feeling the winter chill.
Guo Ming, an expert in luxury watches in Shanghai, said: "Some who had planned to buy high-end watches worth more than 100,000 yuan as presents turned to items valued at between 30,000 yuan and 40,000 yuan.
"Those luxury items are no longer a favorite. Low-key luxury goods have become more popular instead," he added.
Sales of some high-end watch brands dropped as much as 30 percent last year in China, according to industry insiders.
China's new leadership has vowed to fight corruption and launched a frugality drive across the country.
A number of official corruption scandals have been exposed in recent months.
Last Friday, Yang Dacai, former head of the provincial work safety administration in Shaanxi Province, was kicked out of the Communist Party.
Last year, luxury wristwatches that Yang was spotted wearing earned him the nickname of "Watch Brother" and raised concerns about corruption, as it was believed that a public servant could not possibly afford so many expensive watches.
Some luxury brands are reported to have decided to stop or slow their market expansion in China.
However, Zhou Ting, dean of the Fortune Character Institute, which specializes in lifestyle studies of the rich in China, remains optimistic.
She said: "The anti-corruption move has had a great impact on luxury goods. But entrepreneurs in booming cities or towns are becoming luxury consumers."
The adjustment in the luxury brand market was to be expected given its rapid market expansion in China in recent years and the effect of the country's anti-corruption moves, Zhou said.