For luxury brands operating in the Chinese market, the bigger they are the better their chances for grabbing mindshare among consumers.
That’s according to the latest survey on global luxury goods from RBC Europe Ltd. Analyst Rogerio Fujimori concluded that category leaders will extend their lead, which bodes well for LVMH, Richemont, Swatch Group, Kering, Hermès and Tiffany.
The latest study surveyed 643 affluent Chinese consumers between ages 18 and 65 who have bought at least one luxury product in the last 12 months. Sixty-two percent are between ages 18 and 34, while only 6 percent are older than 45. The sample mix is skewed toward females, at 61 percent, versus male respondents.
According to the survey, Chinese consumers are more interested in purchasing apparel, footwear and beauty online than bags, watches and jewelry.
For the luxury handbag category, Chanel enjoys the highest purchase intent at 20 percent, followed by Gucci at 16 percent, Hermès at 12 percent and Prada at 9 percent. Rounding out the top six are LVMH and Dior, both at 8 percent. The survey results indicate that Chanel, Gucci and Hermès are showing positive momentum in the handbag category, while LVMH and Dior are stable compared with purchase intent in prior surveys.
Further, while Chanel has the highest purchase intent, the respondents cited Hermès as their desired dream bag, assuming no budget constraints.
Chanel is also the top fashion apparel brand at 18 percent, followed by Armani at 15 percent. Also on the list are Gucci at 9 percent, LVMH and Prada each at 7 percent, and Burberry at 5 percent. Both Chanel and Armani also lead in terms of rising momentum, compared with the previous survey. The other brands are considered “stable” when compared with purchase intent in earlier surveys.
LVMH is the leader for footwear at 20 percent, with Gucci close behind at 19 percent. Prada follows at 13 percent, with Dior and Balenciaga rounding out the top five. Ferragamo, at 2 percent, appears under pressure, and is now off the top 10 list, although in previous years it was ranked among the top five.
In the accessories category, Tiffany and Cartier are the co-leaders at 26 percent. Bulgari was in third place at 15 percent, with Boucheron and Van Cleef & Arpels completing the top five ranking.
For luxury watches, Rolex was clearly the top brand, with the highest purchase intent at 20 percent of all responses. In second place was Longines at 13 percent, followed by Omega at 12 percent. Rounding out the list were Cartier at 8 percent, Bulgari at 6 percent, Tissot at 5 percent and Patek at 5 percent.
Fujimori said in his report, “Since 2015, we see luxury demand in China increasingly driven by incremental spending from existing customers [instead of by first-time luxury buyers].”
The analyst, who cowrote the report with Piral Dadhania, noted that the Chinese consumer group “is the single most important customer for European luxury brands, representing 35 percent of global sales for our luxury goods coverage last year.”
They added that with the Chinese luxury market reaching maturity in 2014 to 2015, some key themes include the search for greater value across all price points; an increased focus on incremental spending from existing customers; making customer retention a key priority; an increase in the spend for luxury experiences, and more frequent novelties in stores to drive traffic.