PARIS – Gucci is the top brand choice for affluent Chinese women intending to buy a designer handbag or shoes within the next year, according to a recent survey by RBC Capital Markets.Seventy percent of the 411 respondents to the November survey said they would buy Gucci shoes. Prada, Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu and Salvatore Ferragamo follow in the ranking of brand preferences.Gucci also edged out Chanel regarding purchasing intent for handbags, with 50 percent of those surveyed citing the Italian brand and 49 percent the French house. Prada, Louis Vuitton and Hermès round out the top five.Consumers surveyed said they prized beautiful designs, brand reputation and fashion appeal as the most important factors in their brand choice. Secondary factors on the rise include “shopping experience” and “reasonable price.”But the gap has narrowed between consumers seeking highly recognizable designs and those preferring discreet, understated styles.“The Chinese consumer is becoming increasingly sophisticated and is trading up to less widely available and more discreet brands,” luxury analyst Rogerio Fujimori wrote in the research note.Younger consumers, those under 34, cited different brand preferences with Mulberry, Miu Miu, Alexander McQueen, Alexander Wang and Givenchy taking the top five spots.The survey suggests the “sweet spot” for luxury handbags is 1,800 euros to 2,700 euros, or $1,900 to $2,850 at current exchange rates, with the propensity to purchase bags over 2,000 euros, or $2,110, rising since an August survey. That “bodes well for the likes of Hermès and Chanel,” the report said.Chanel ranks the highest among Chinese consumers intending to purchase designer ready-to-wear, with 55 percent of respondents citing the brand. Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Giorgio Armani round out the top five.Among brands rising in the rtw rankings were Dior, Burberry and Fendi, whose rtw and furs are designed by Karl Lagerfeld, also Chanel’s chief designer.About 90 percent of the women surveyed were between 25 and 44 years old and 70 percent of them already own between two and five luxury handbags.RBC estimates that handbags represent about 20 percent of the total market for personal luxury goods, with Chinese consumers accounting for 30 percent of global luxury sales.
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