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China's global share of luxury spending nearly doubles amid COVID

Travel restrictions and online retail boost domestic purchases of high-end items

People take pictures on their phones at a screening of the Prada Spring/Summer 2021 Womenswear Fashion Show at Prada's Rong Zhai residence in Shanghai in September.    © Reuters

HONG KONG -- China nearly doubled its share in the global luxury market to 20% this year, compared with major declines elsewhere around the world, as the coronavirus pandemic forced Chinese shoppers to buy locally, according to a new report.

For years, international luxury brands have depended on travelers from China for sales growth. Before the outbreak curbed travel, 70% of these Chinese consumers made purchases overseas because the same goods cost more domestically due to tariffs.

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