Luxury isn’t what it used to be. The value of the top 10 luxury-goods brands fell 6 percent, or $7.1 billion, to $105 billion as companies from Prada SpA to Cartier grappled with slowing sales in China and Russia, research company Millward Brown said in the 2015 BrandZ study.
Only Louis Vuitton and Chanel saw an increase over last year. Vuitton gained 6 percent to $27.4 billion, placing LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE’s biggest brand atop the luxury ranking for the 10th straight year. Chanel’s value rose 15 percent to $9 billion, propelling it to fourth in the list behind second-place Hermes and Kering SA’s Gucci.
Spending on gifts has fallen in China as the government clamps down on corruption, while Russia’s shoppers are suffering from the ruble’s depreciation and sanctions tied to the conflict in Ukraine, Millward Brown said. At the same time, efforts to appear more exclusive have created opportunities for cheaper brands such as Michael Kors and Tiffany, which finished in the top ten for the first time, the researcher said.
But this does not reflect the trends of High Net Worth Chinese, who still consume luxury goods overseas, during their business/leisure trips.
The brands who suffer the most are brands with low brand equity, in the eyes of Chinese consumers, as the most prestigious brands (in particular watches brands) continue to thrive with Chinese affluent collectors.
Chanel, the maker of No. 5 perfume, and handbag purveyor Vuitton fared better than their peers thanks to their unique approach, according to Elspeth Cheung, Millward Brown’s Global Brandz Valuation Director.
Chanel has harmonized prices across regions, encouraging more in-store consumption, Cheung said. And Vuitton has successfully revitalized its brand with a fresh take on its original LV monogram.
The worst performers were Cartier, whose value decreased 15 percent to $7.6 billion, placing it sixth, while Prada slumped 35 percent to $6.5 billion, according to the study. An overly expensive product mix and lack of novelty at Prada have led shoppers to spend elsewhere, analysts at Exane BNP Paribas have said.
Hermes’s value fell 13 percent to $18.9 billion and Gucci declined 14 percent to $13.8 billion, according to the study. Rolex fell 6 percent to $8.5 billion, placing it fifth. Rounding out the top 10 most valuable luxury brands were Burberry in eighth, Michael Kors and Tiffany.
The luxury ranking is part of a broader study commissioned by WPP Plc, the advertising-company parent of Millward Brown. The study is based on interviews with more than three million consumers and an analysis of companies’ performance.
In conclusion, Luxury brands should open less stores in Mainland China (and certainly close some of them), and focus their marketing efforts on Chinese outbound travelers who prefer now to buy overseas, to enjoy better prices, better service, and the social status which comes with a product bought in New York, London or Paris. “Bought in Beijing” is not cool anymore.
Source: Business of Fashion