Koreas Infatuation with High End Luxury Brands
kpride, Oct. 7, 2014, 9:03 a.m.
Well-off Koreans have failed to beat their addiction to global bling despite the recession, with Louis Vuitton handbags and Tag Heuer watches still high on the list of must-have accessories.
According to data from the Korea Customs Service, a total of 33,897 Louis Vuitton handbags were reported to customs by Korean tourists returning from trips abroad from 2012 until July of this year. Next were handbags from Prada (28,836) and Chanel (14,328).
But over the same period, 12,650 Louis Vuitton and 10,336 Prada handbags were confiscated because their proud new owners failed to declare them. Prada overtook Louis Vuitton this year, with 7,861 reported to customs from January to July compared to 6,026 Louis Vuitton handbags. And 2,117 Prada bags were confiscated over the same period compared to 2,093 Louis Vuitton.
One staffer at a luxury brand store said, "It looks like Prada handbags, which are slightly cheaper than Louis Vuitton handbags, are more popular due to the economic slump."
Customs also confiscated 1,317 Tag Heuer watches from 2012 until July of this year, topping the list of timepieces. "Tag Heuer watches can be bought for a couple of million won as opposed to ultra high-priced watches that cost tens of millions, so they have greater mass appeal," a store staffer said.