French chic still reigns supreme

Updated: 2013-04-25 13:00

By Yao Jing (China Daily)

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French chic still reigns supreme

A Louis Vuitton store in Nanjing. The French brand plans to limit the number of store openings in China to make it more exclusive. Provided to China Daily

Luxury brands from the land of de luxe continue to cast their spell in China.

Luxury goods are perhaps the best calling card that French businesses can boast of when it comes to China. The Chinese market is undoubtedly the beacon that most luxury goods makers have their eyes fixed on, even as demand in more developed markets wanes.

French luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Dior are still the most popular brands for gifts among wealthy Chinese customers, said the Hurun Chinese Luxury Consumer Survey 2013. The survey covered 551 individuals on the Chinese mainland with a personal wealth of 10 million yuan ($1.6 million).

Six French brands, such as Hermes and Cartier, are among the top 15 best brands for gifts among men, while the top three brands on the list for gifts for women are all from France: Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Cartier.

"The promise of glamor, sophistication and elite status that brands like Louis Vuitton and Chanel offer is appealing to many Chinese consumers who either have become wealthy or aspire to become wealthy," said James Roy, senior analyst with China Market Research Group, a strategic market intelligence firm based in Shanghai.

Even though China's luxury market grew just 7 percent last year, compared with 30 percent in 2011, Chinese consumers were still the world's largest luxury consumer group, said US consulting firm Bain & Co.

Though there is intense competition in the Chinese luxury brand market, the French brands have developed their own niche in China due to the premium-tag association and their rich heritage in making quality products.

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