Cash crunch? Not in China. For the country that's fast displaying its economic muscle, the global downturn has not dented China's thirst for luxury goods. The results are revealed in a survey by global consultancy KPMG that found the crisis had little impact on most respondents' spending habits.
The survey, which interviewed more than 900 people in 15 cities, found that 62 percent maintained their spending on expensive goods in 2009 and 2010, as the country emerged from the effects of the downturn.
"Despite a tougher economic climate, respondents demonstrated their brand loyalty, as they chose to stick with existing brands rather than downgrading to less prestigious options," KPMG said.
It also said more respondents cited self-reward and pampering as strong factors for buying luxury items than in a similar 2008 survey.
Buying luxury brands to be shown off at formal occasions also was cited as a key factor.
China has the world's second-highest number of dollar billionaires after the United States, and a new class of wealthy Chinese created by the country's three-decade boom has seized on foreign luxury brands as status symbols.
While the global economic downturn that began in late 2008 brought recession to the United States and Europe, China's economy has slowed but has continued to post some of the world's fastest growth rates.
According to the report, 71 percent of respondents were educated to university level or above.
Those polled were between 20 and 44 and earned at least 4,500 yuan (660 dollars) per month, with a minimum income of 6,500 yuan in the larger cities of Beijing, Shanghai and the southern industrial hubs of Guangzhou and Shenzhen.