Chinese tourist Louis Vuitton store

Chinese consumers will be the leading buyers of luxury goods brands by 2015, snapping up pricy items at home and abroad, according to a study published Tuesday by the Boston Consulting Group.

“We predict that by 2020, more than 330 cities in China will have the same level of disposable income that Shanghai had in 2010, and that by 2015, China will become the world’s largest luxury market,” the BCG said.

Last year, Asian specialist brokerage CLSA estimated that China would become the world’s biggest market for luxury goods by 2020, but auditors Price Waterhouse Coopers have also tipped 2015.

“Business leaders of some major luxury brands believe that as much as 40 percent of their global sales are already coming from Chinese consumers,” the BCG note said.

BCG associate director Olivier Abtan told AFP: “There are two Chinas, the interior one and Chinese who travel. The second group consumes as much as the first, if not more.”

The consulting group estimates that half of luxury purchases made by Brazilians and Chinese take place during trips abroad, which are expected to increase in the future.

Abtan predicted that home-grown luxury brands would also develop in emerging economies, saying: “we should get ready for emerging champions in the luxury sector.

“We have not yet seen such champions on a global level but that is going to change within a few years, a decade at the most.”