Top fashion brands consumers in China and India would buy in the future if money were no object.

The fashion world is obsessed with emerging countries such as India and China, but are consumers in those countries just as obsessed with fashion? Market research firm ACNielsen recently released its global survey of the most coveted fashion brands, along with regional breakdowns. Below, a look at China and India’s most coveted fashion brands. Said Bhawani Singh, managing director of consumer research at ACNielsen Europe: “Not all of these fashion brands have a physical presence in China and India at the moment, yet consumers are still familiar with them — awareness remains quite high because of international television, fashion magazines and the Internet.”

1. CHANEL *
Percentage of regional respondents who would buy this brand in the future if money were no object: 38
Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel collection is perfectly suited for the Asian consumer. “The look of Asian women is perfect for Chanel, because [Coco Chanel] was not too tall, had dark hair and a tiny silhouette,” the designer said in March.

CHINA

2. VERSACE *
Percentage: 38
The Italian fashion house made a splash in China last year, when it opened and redesigned 12 boutiques in Hong Kong, Macao and mainland China (along with a boutique in Tokyo). Versace noted the aggressive expansion is part of a strategy to take part in China’s booming luxury market.

3. LOUIS VUITTON
Percentage: 32
Since launching in China in 1992, Vuitton has invested heavily in the market: The brand’s new China World store, which broke ground last November, is the largest of its 12 stores in mainland China.

4. GIORGIO ARMANI
Percentage: 26
“Giorgio Armani, a professed admirer of Asian culture for many years, has touted, ‘It’s as if fashion was created for Chinese women; they’re very elegant,’” WWD reported in March. The Armani Group plans to open an additional 40 to 50 stores in China in the next five years.

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5. CHRISTIAN DIOR
Percentage: 22
Christian Dior said in January that sales in 2005 rose 11.4 percent to $825.7 million. Dior president Sidney Toledano told WWD he was planning 10 to 15 additional locations this year, including a boutique in Dalian, China.

6. GUCCI
Percentage: 20
Gucci, which opened shop in the lesser-known port town of Qingdao in January, plans to open another three stores in China by the end of the year, bringing its mainland store count to 11. The Milan-based fashion house is still canvassing locations for a Beijing flagship.

7. GIVENCHY
Percentage: 16
Paris-based Givenchy has eight freestanding stores — one in New York, three in China, three in France and one in Japan — plus 29 franchise locations. WWD reported in January that the Metro Shopping Center, in the city of Suzhou, includes shops such as Givenchy and Balenciaga.

8. PRADA
Percentage: 10
In June 2005 at the Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit, Patrizio Bertelli, chief executive officer of Prada Group, predicted that, by 2010, Chinese consumers would have a total of $500 billion to spend on luxury goods.

9. MAX MARA *
Percentage: 9
Max Mara made an appearance in Shanghai in 2000; the Italian label set up a boutique in Citic Square. Beijing’s China World shopping center also includes a number of upscale designer boutiques, namely Max Mara, Dior, Fendi and Prada.

10. RALPH LAUREN *
Percentage: 9
The New York-based fashion house currently has 21 Polo Ralph Lauren and Polo Jeans Co. locations across China. In Beijing, a Polo Ralph Lauren destination is located in one of the most prestigious and attractive modern shopping centers, known as Scitech Plaza.

INDIA

1. GUCCI
Percentage of regional respondents who would buy this brand in the future if money were no object: 42
Milan-based Gucci expects to open a number of stores in India over the next five years. “I strongly believe in India as a future market…for [designer] brands,” said Gucci Group’s president and ceo, Robert Polet, in March.

2. GIORGIO ARMANI
Percentage: 38
Last year, the average Indian salary rose 14 percent, the highest wage growth in Asia, according to a study by Hewitt Associates, a global human resources company. In April, the India Times reported Giorgio Armani will begin setting up shop in India by mid-2007.

3. CHRISTIAN DIOR
Percentage: 35
In February, Dior opened its first store in India’s capital of New Delhi. Priya Sunder, director of PeakAlpha, a financial planning company, told Time Asia that younger Indians from wealthier families increasingly are matching the purchasing power of their European and American counterparts.

4. VERSACE
Percentage: 34
Indian fashionistas will have plenty of access to the Italian label soon: Donatella Versace made headlines on the front page of the country’s national newspapers when she announced during a visit to Mumbai in March 2005 that Versace would be opening five boutiques in the country in 2006.

5. LOUIS VUITTON
Percentage: 29
India’s new foreign investment policy allows foreign companies to own 51 percent of their operations in the country, as long as they exclusively sell their own merchandise. “It paves the way for further expansion,” said Yves Carcelle, chairman and ceo of Louis Vuitton.

6. RALPH LAUREN
Percentage: 25
Without a physical presence in India, how are consumers finding out about this brand? “Indian shoppers are all traveling to Dubai to shop at stores like Ralph Lauren,” said Bhawani Singh of ACNielsen Europe. “Dubai has positioned itself as a shopping mecca for wealthy Indian consumers.”

7. YVES SAINT LAURENT
Percentage: 20
Though there are currently no Yves Saint Laurent boutiques in India, that isn’t stopping consumers from wishing there were. In February, the French brand made its presence known by launching its Cinema fragrance in Kolkata, India.

8. CHANEL
Percentage: 17
Chanel opened its first store in India in April 2005 in New Delhi’s Imperial Hotel. WWD reported in April that Chanel has plans to open three boutiques dedicated specifically to its fine jewelry and watches — in Dubai, Moscow and Japan — by the end of this year.

9. PRADA

Percentage: 17
Factors such as improved economic conditions and increased tourism are making way for designer brands to enter India. Brands such as Prada also are welcoming Indian fashions into their designs: For the spring 2005 season, Prada’s skirts showcased delicate Indian mirror work on their hems.

10. DKNY
Percentage: 17
With India’s population being considered among the youngest in the world (65 percent are below 35 years of age), Donna Karan’s DKNY brand would have a field day catering to this market — 49 percent of households are expected to have middle-to-high incomes by 2010.

Source: ACNielsen, a global market research firm; rankings were pulled from ACNielsen’s Global Online Survey, which surveyed more than 22,000 consumers online in 42 markets; the survey analyzed consumers’ opinions on a variety of subjects ranging from current confidence levels, spending habits/intentions, current major concerns and attitudes. *indicates a tie.

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