Revenge shopping: how luxury shoppers are taking revenge on lockdown

By Bernadette Chua |

Spending it

Fun Stuff

The phrase “revenge shopping” evokes images of jilted lovers brandishing a partner’s credit card as a weapon, racking up a vendetta of debt. 

However in China, the phrase means something different. There, revenge shopping is sometimes used in reference to the upsurge in spending that happened as part of the aftermath of the destructive Cultural Revolution of communist leader Mao Zedong, which ended in 1976.

It’s been used again recently to encapsulate the sudden surge in luxury spending occurring in China as restrictions were lifted following the Coronavirus lockdown. One Hermès store in Guangzhou pulled in $3.9m on its first day of reopening on April 11.

While many in China are saying they will be trimming back excess spending, it seems those in the luxury market have no such qualms, with frustrated shoppers desperate to give their credit cards a workout. And since international travel is off the table for most people, luxury goods – shoes, handbags and jewellery – are back in demand. 

The pattern seems to be repeating itself in Australia, where many people are tightening their belts but luxury brands seem to be on a fast track to recovery. 

According to a News Corp study of 1000 Australians, luxury consumers with money burning a hole in their pockets and no travel available for the foreseeable future are feeling the need to treat themselves after the restrictions of lockdown and are likely to overcompensate with a local version of “revenge shopping”.

The report states that 46% of well-off Australians plan to buy a big-ticket item during the next 12 months. It further confirms that, as social distancing restrictions loosen, Australians are looking forward to dining out, shopping in physical stores and socialising in public spaces.

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