The “2016 Digital IQ Index: Luxury China” from business intelligence agency, L2, benchmarks the digital performance of 107 luxury fashion, watch and jewelry brands operating in China – 80 percent of which currently have some kind of e-commerce presence in the China market.
Rounding out the ranking’s top ten, Chow Sang Sang, Tommy Hilfiger, Gucci, Valentino, Calvin Klein and Louis Vuitton were all found to have achieved a digital presence in China “consistent with brand image and larger marketing efforts,” though not quite at the level of the top four brands, which had made their digital competence in China a “point of competitive differentiation.”
Burberry has long been a digital leader in China, becoming the first luxury brand to open a store on Alibaba’s business-to-consumer platform Tmall in 2014 and Hong Kong-based jewelers such as Chow Tai Fook and Chow Sang Sang have the advantage of proximity and an understanding of Chinese digital infrastructure that can be difficult for Western brands to grasp.
The report specifically called out Tommy Hilfiger as having made great strides in the e-commerce space in China in recent times, with the brand’s aggressive expansion leading to its full range of products being offered on a China direct-to-consumer site, as well as a Tmall and JD.com store.
At the other end of the spectrum were brands such as Emilio Pucci, Donna Karan, Oscar de la Renta and Harry Winston, who all shared a “feeble” digital IQ ranking.
Despite widespread reticence from luxury brands to going online, this nascent sector is growing. Although online luxury sales currently account for only 5 percent of the domestic luxury market in China, sales grew 20 percent last year, a growth rate three times that of the overall market.