MILAN — Gucci remains the world's most coveted luxury brand, according to a recent market survey.
In an online poll of 25,000 consumers in 48 countries conducted by market research firm The Nielsen Group in November and published Wednesday, one in five respondents said they would choose to buy Gucci over any other luxury brand if money were no object.
Chanel and Calvin Klein tied for second place, followed by Louis Vuitton, Giorgio Armani, Christian Dior and Versace.
Gucci, which is owned by French retail group PPR, shared first place with Giorgio Armani in the same survey two years ago.
"In the past two years, Gucci has managed to maintain and even increase its brand equity in a very competitive and fickle industry," Nielsen European president Patrick Dodd said. "They have achieved this by consistently embedding their core brand values in all their branded products, which range from perfume and sunglasses to accessories, jewelry, handbags and ready-to-wear fashion."
Gucci designer Frida Giannini's vision of luxury may not be everyone's cup of tea — her bohemian rock 'n' roll women's collection for fall confounded some critics in Milan, for example — but few can deny she knows what sells. Since Giannini took sole control of the design helm two years ago, business has boomed in Asia-Pacific, Russia and the Middle East, and has grown steadily in more mature markets.
Gucci chief executive officer Mark Lee told WWD earlier this month that the company planned a swath of store openings in emerging markets this year, including two in India, and others in Macau, Prague and Budapest.
Lee will be hoping to tempt the 41 percent of Indians and 37 percent of consumers in the United Arab Emirates who told Nielsen they would choose Gucci if money was no concern, and further tap almost a third of consumers in the UAE and Hong Kong who said they already buy Gucci merchandise.
"Shopping is a way of life in these countries, and luxury brands are an essential part of the population's wardrobe, even if it comes in the form of a key chain," Dodd said.
While Gucci topped the survey overall, consumer aspirations differed regionally. Ignoring one's bank balance, Chanel was the top pick among Chinese consumers; Christian Dior was number one for Russians; Louis Vuitton was the favorite of Hong Kong and Filipino shoppers; Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein and Yves Saint Laurent were most sought after by Latin American consumers, and Hermès was the brand of choice for the Japanese.At the other end of the scale, and notwithstanding the economic slowdown in the U.S., North American consumers were the least interested in luxury brands. More than a third of those surveyed said they would "not buy any," even if they had deep pockets.
Luxury sales are forecast to grow more than 20 percent in China and 9 percent in Russia this year, according to Merrill Lynch, and with demand accelerating in less saturated regions, notions of luxury are evolving.
"A luxury brand is simply something that consumers, especially in emerging markets, are willing to pay a significant premium for," Dodd said.
To wit, 35 percent of respondents said they would buy a mobile phone if it were cobranded with a luxury brand — a product extension that already has been rolled out by a number of leading fashion companies. For example, Dolce & Gabbana's cell phone has been a huge commercial success, and last year Prada sold more than 700,000 of its 600 euro, or $891 at current exchange, touch-screen handsets, which was produced by electronics giant LG Group. Industry experts predict that by 2011 more than 200 million cell phones a year will come from nontraditional brands, including fashion labels.
And the rush for new product extensions is unlikely to stop there.
One in three of those surveyed by Nielsen said they would buy a cobranded luxury designer laptop computer, one in four said they would buy a designer flat-screen TV and one in six even said they would like to buy designer-branded MP3 players and kitchen appliances.
"There seems to be a huge market potential for luxury brands to [invade] every corner of the home and office," Dodd said.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over the top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty