Addiction to Luxury Goods is a Disease
There are plenty of stories about the exorbitant spending habits of people hooked on luxury goods. Last year, a 26-year-old woman was arrested on charges of counterfeiting after she used a color photocopier to make fake banknotes so she could repay around W60 million worth of debt she took on to buy W100 million worth of luxury handbags and cosmetics. Another woman in her 20s embezzled W1.6 billion from her employer to buy luxury goods and was arrested. The bags she bought with the money cost more than W10 million each.
The Chanel store in one department store in Seoul sold W460 million worth of products on its opening day last year, setting a new record among Chanel stores worldwide. For some time women have considered buying Chanel products as investments. In 2008, a classic Caviar bag by Chanel cost W2.7 million, but the price rose to W5.8 million last year. They can still make a profit by buying a luxury bag and then selling it second-hand.
Chanel has decided to raise the prices of its products sold in Korea by more than 10 percent next month. The price of the Vintage 2.55 large bag will rise from W6.63 million to W7.4 million, around W1.91 million more than in Paris. The price of the bag has more than doubled since 2008. But people still line up to buy them, saying that they are essential elements of a dowry. As long as this continues, Korean consumers will remain easy targets for luxury labels.
Luxury goods have become practically essential items to keep up with the neighbors or as status symbols that set some people apart from others. Buying luxury handbags as investments is a weird phenomenon unique to Korea. The children of business tycoons have also opened themselves up to public criticism for their lavish spending on opening gilded stores that hock the latest and most expensive imported luxury products, rather than using their parents’ money to develop innovative local products or services. And the labels are laughing all the way to the bank.
Addiction to luxury goods is a public malaise. We need to treat it before it becomes incurable
By Chosun Ilbo columnist Park Hae-hyun
SEE? YOU NOW KNOW TO NEVER BUY CHANEL AT KOREA! :))))