BEIJING: Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Gucci are the luxury brands enjoying the highest levels of top of mind and spontaneous awareness among affluent Chinese shoppers, a report has revealed.

Ruder Finn, the PR network, and Ipsos, the research firm, polled 1,135 people earning over RMB100,000 a year. Some 65% of the panel were under 35 years old, showing China's "booming potential".

When it came to top of mind awareness, Louis Vuitton and Chanel led the charts with 39% and 17% in turn. Gucci was further back, yielding 7%, while Hermès registered 6%.

Christian Dior secured 5% on this measure, followed by Armani with 4%, Rolex with 3% and Cartier with 2%. Prada and Versace/Versus generated 1% apiece here.

Louis Vuitton also boasted the strongest spontaneous recall score, having been mentioned by 65% of contributors. Chanel delivered 50%, ahead of Gucci's 41% and Christian Dior's 30%.

Making up the leading ten players were Hermès, on 28%, Rolex, on 21%, Armani, on 19%, Prada, on 17%, Cartier, on 15%, and Versace/Versus, on 9%.

Elsewhere, the report found that China has become the preferred destination for purchasing exclusive goods, replacing Hong Kong and Europe, which assumed this status last year.

Branded stores constitute the favoured channel for buyers. The web is also playing a more important role, with 10% of luxury offerings now acquired in this way, hitting 17% for premium cosmetics.

Similarly, nearly 80% of interviewees either currently utilise social media services to learn about these products or plan to in the future.

Upon discussing purchase intentions for the next 12 months, a 54% majority of the sample actually anticipated cutting their outlay on watches, a total reaching 48% for both handbags and jewellery.

By contrast, 43% expect to boost their expenditure on cosmetics and shoes during this period, ahead of wines, spirits and cigars, logging 40%.

"We are seeing a change in spending patterns, not a drop in the desire for luxury items," said Elan Shou, Ruder Finn's managing director for China and vice President for Asia.

"Chinese consumers buy luxury products mainly to reward themselves or build confidence, as well as to reflect their taste and personality, and will continue to do so this year."

Data sourced from Ruder Finn; additional content by Warc staff