Slowing Chinese demand is pushing luxury brands to focus more on the U.S. market, according to a new report by RBC Capital Markets.
While most luxury shoppers are older, RBC surveyed Millennials to find out which high-end brands they preferred in order to determine which companies would benefit.
Like other Millennials, the younger luxury shopper prefers to spend on experiences over goods, but when they do make luxury purchases there are definite winning categories. Seventy-six percent of those surveyed said they planned on buying luxe apparel over the next year, while 65 percent said they planned on purchasing shoes.
The Millennials surveyed pointed to Armani as their favorite luxury apparel brand, followed by Ralph Lauren, Chanel and Burberry. The top shoe brands were Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton. Jimmy Choo was the top specialty brand.
Just over half of those surveyed said they also intended to make purchases of jewelry or watches. Tiffany & Co., Cartier and Bulgari led among jewelry brands and Rolex was the watch brand of choice, followed by Fossil, Chanel and Tiffany.
Handbags only accounted for 45 percent of the intended luxury buys.
The analysts said the handbag market has become crowded and mature causing a lack of purchase desire. It was a three-way tie for handbag choices. Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Coach each received 30 percent of the survey choice for the next luxury bag purchase.
RBC said singled out LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton as its preferred stock in the European luxury space, with Louis Vuitton in handbags and shoes and the Bulgari in jewelry. Within the category, RBC also said it continues to like Kering due to the high purchase intent for Gucci in bags and shoes and Burberry for its strong showing in apparel.
Coach is RBC’s top stock in the U.S. luxury space. “Contrary to investor concerns around some of the heritage U.S. luxury brands (including Tiffany, Lauren, Coach) losing relevance with the Millennial customer, the survey ranks them highly as preferred brands in their respective categories,” the analysts said. Thirty percent of the shoppers surveyed said they intended to buy a Coach bag, beating out Chanel with 29 percent. They say this illustrates price sensitivity amongst U.S. consumers.
Since many Millennials like to mix and match trends, RBC also surveyed the young luxury set to see what cheaper brands they would blend in to their high-end look. Ath-leisure is still going strong with Nike and Adidas coming at 35 percent and 33 percent, respectively. Calvin Klein, owned by PVH Corp. entered the number-three spot.
Female Millennials prefer to buy their luxury items in department stores, while men prefer to shop in a monobrand store. The younger shoppers in the Millennial category — 18- to 24-year-olds — like online luxury shopping better versus the older — 24- to 35-year-olds — part of the group.
The North American luxury shopper is second behind the Chinese and accounted for roughly 20 percent of all global luxury sales in 2015. New York City is the largest city for luxury brands. The other top U.S. cities for luxury shopping included Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Honolulu and Miami.