Louis Vuitton scores in China

14 January 2011

BEIJING: Louis Vuitton, Hermès and Chanel are the most popular brands with wealthy Chinese consumers, a survey has revealed.

The Hurun Report, a publishing company focusing on affluent shoppers in the Asian nation, interviewed 401 millionaires living in mainland China, each boasting assets of 10m yuan ($1.5m; €1.1m; £955m)  or more.

On average, participants were 39 years old, a figure rising to 43 years old with reference to contributors worth at least 1bn yuan, 12 months younger than was the case in the previous such study.

Typically, Chinese millionaires spend 2.5m yuan per year, making them an extremely attractive, and potentially profitable, demographic for marketers.

Overall, the number of luxury brands enjoying unaided awareness among this group had climbed by 20% when measured against 2010.

"The time for China to learn from Europe is over. People here are becoming better educated. They are getting to know luxury brands that are not even familiar to some Europeans," Rupert Hoogewerf, founder of the Hurun Report, told the China Daily.

"Chinese entrepreneurs are getting more and more sophisticated, discerning and confident in their personal style, and what they aspire to, as they try to turn new money into old money."

"Luxury brands have a very special place in China, as there is strong gift-giving culture here. Lots of people like to receive luxury brands to improve their status. It's a noticeable trend."

Louis Vuitton retained its position as the top premium goods label, and Hermès leapt from fourth to second. Chanel remained in third, while Cartier and Gucci completed the five leading offerings.

Watches and jewellery were the products afforded the highest level of desirability, recording a combined score of 44%, a 10% increase on an annual basis.

Cartier was the premier jewellery manufacturer for a sixth successive year, and Patek Philippe assumed equal prominence regarding watches, a role it has occupied for three years.

"People are getting better educated about the intrinsic value of the international brands, for example, the history and culture behind them," Judy Chang, Cartier's marketing and communication director, China, said.

"Rich people in China are moving toward international practices."

Giorgio Armani attained an elevated standing in the fashion segment, and Rolls Royce led the way in the auto category.

Shui Jing Fang, the baijiu brand which Diageo hopes to acquire for around $1bn, topped the charts concerning alcoholic drinks.

China Merchants Bank was perceived as the best credit card provider, Sina is the favoured website within this high-profile audience, a title applying to the China Business News when discussing newspapers.

Two luxury specialists made their first appearance on the list - fashion giant Prada and carmaker Bentley.

Hurun has previously estimated there were 875,000 multimillionaires in China and 55,000 billionaires last year.

Data sourced from China Daily/Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff