LVMH targets Asia

01 March 2012

SINGAPORE: LVMH, the premium goods group, is targeting a wide variety of markets in Asia, where shoppers are becoming increasingly "educated" and engaged with the luxury "experience".

Speaking to CNBC, Ravi Thakran, LVMH's group president, South Asia, South East Asia and the Middle East, suggested a range of trends are currently exerting an impact.

"The luxury consumer, particularly in Asia, has come of age after decades of deprivation, particularly in markets like China and India," he said.

"They are becoming successful, they want to enjoy their success, and they want to tell the world they have arrived ... on the scene. Luxury goods greatly reflect this success."

Watches and jewellery are especially popular in Asia, with many buyers currently seeking to acquire the "best" when choosing between competing offerings.

"When you look at jewellery or watches, Asians are buying the highest priced segment [and] the most sophisticated of the products," said Thakran.

"The Asian consumer is not only this newly-found luxury consumer, but they are very evolved. For the same level of income they are far more educated about brands."

As an indication of this process, sales growth in China is continuing at a fast pace, according to Thakran. "I don't think there is any sign of China slowing down, particularly in our segment," he said.

Given the cost of high-end lines can be up to 25% greater in China than elsewhere, shoppers from the country are also increasingly opting to make purchases when visiting areas such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai.

"It's not only the product; it's the whole experience," Thakran said. "For a Chinese consumer to go to a Louis Vuitton store, a Dior or a Fendi store, and go through the whole experience of luxury, and walk out with this bag with a big smile, I think that is the whole piece of it."

Among the countries where demand is expanding rapidly are India, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. Indeed, Thakran argued that Indonesia could join Brazil, Russia, India and China as a priority for brands.

"South East Asia has been a fantastic market for us in the last year," he said. "Going forward, we believe Indonesia will be one of the big surprises."

Data sourced from CNBC; additional content by Warc staff