In addition to pent-up demand, rounds of price hikes in China are also responsible for luxury brands’ better-than-expected results during one of the most challenging years for retail in recent memory.
Top-tier brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Dior lead the way: Vuitton’s entry-level Pochette accessories saw a staggering 46.2 percent increase in price, while Chanel hiked the price for the Classic Flap range by 20 to 32 percent in 2020.
On average, bestselling models, such as the Prada Re-Editions, Lady Dior and Gucci Jackie now are asking 18 to 25 percent more than a year ago in China.
Hermès, on the other hand, only increased handbag prices by 3 to 6 percent throughout the pandemic.
China’s top fashion influencer Mr. Bags, who has been monitoring the price changes for his followers, told WWD that brands won’t push the price up overnight. They will selectively push certain bag prices up, keep them stable for a while and then increase a new group of bag prices.
For example, Dior didn’t change the price for the Saddle Bags for over a year until last month, and the price for the Chanel 19 remains relatively stable, with only a 5 to 6 percent increase.
In 2021, the more frequent price hikes are likely to continue. Gucci increased its prices on March 9, with its Neo Vintage GG Supreme going up by 15 percent and the Horsebit 1955 by 5 percent — passing the 20,000 renminbi price mark to 20,500 renminbi. In the U.K., the same bag costs 1,670 pounds or 15,100 renminbi, 35 percent cheaper than buying in China.
Interestingly, many Chinese luxury consumers are not bothered by the frequent price hikes. Instead, they line up outside the stores days before the new prices are applied. In their eyes, they are not just buying a bag — they are investing in the future.
At the same time, daigou — meaning shopping proxy in Chinese — continues to benefit greatly from the regional price difference, even as China’s e-commerce laws have tightened the screws on the gray market.
Here, WWD compiles the 15 luxury handbags with the highest price increases in China throughout the pandemic.
1. Louis Vuitton, Pochette Accessories, +46.4%, from 4,200 to 6,150 renminbi
2. Chanel, Mini Square Classic Flap, +31.9%, from 21,600 to 28,500 renminbi
3. Louis Vuitton, Toiletry Pouch 26, +28.9%, from 3,450 to 4,450 renminbi
4. Louis Vuitton, Multi Pochette Accessories, +28%, from 12,500 to 16,000 renminbi
5. Prada, Re-Edition 2005, +26.4%, from 8,700 to 11,000 renminbi
6. Dior, Mini Saddle, +25%, from 20,000 to 25,000 renminbi
7. Chanel, Small Classic Flap, +24.5%, from 37,600 to 46,800 renminbi
8. Dior, Mini Lady Dior, +22.2%, from 27,000 to 33,000 renminbi
9. Dior, Mini Dior Book Tote, +21.9%, from 16,000 to 19,500 renminbi
10. Chanel, Medium Classic Flap and 2.55 Reissue, +20.9%, from 42,600 to 51,500 renminbi
11. Dior, 30 Montaigne, +20%, from 22,500 to 27,000 renminbi
12. Chanel, Large Classic Flap, +19.1%, from 47,100 to 56,100 renminbi
13. Gucci, Mini Jackie, +18.2%, from 14,300 to 16,900 renminbi
14. Dior, Medium Lady Dior, +17.6%, from 34,000 to 40,000 renminbi
15. Gucci, Super Mini GG Marmont, +16.3%, from 6,450 to 7,500 renminbi