Top and above: Design details and materials were carefully chosen to
appeal to the luxury shopper in this Ralph Lauren flagship in Hong Kong.
is primarily fueled by the growing power and size of China’s
middle class, which is now the largest in the world. With rising wages and buying power, the Chinese have a deep desire
to buy status brands. China’s upper-middle-class consumers are helping stimulate rapid growth in the consumption
of luxury goods, which grew 16% to 20% per year from 2009
to 2012, according to a McKinsey report. BMWs and Audis
Driven by the need for rapid expansion, the typical schedule
for a retail project in China is about five months from concept to completed prototype, regardless of whether it’s a
20,000-sq.-ft. flagship or a store in a small regional mall.
For example, our firm was recently retained to develop two
flagship stores and one smaller regional location that will take
six months to complete, from the time we were briefed to the
completion of construction.
Since demand is growing, scale is also critical, with the
average chain consisting of 5,000 stores and growing. China’s
largest bank, The Chinese Postal Bank, has 37,000 branch
locations and typically renovates more than 5,000 stores a year.
The competitive nature of the market is both financially driven
and culturally motivated, as retailers do not want to be outdone
by their competitors. This puts great emphasis on store design
as an effective branding tool.