China’s Jewelry Giants Drop Down on Global Luxury Power Ranking

While China has yet to produce fashion companies on par with the likes of Louis Vuitton or Gucci, Chinese jewelry makers already rank among the world’s biggest luxury giants. But according to consulting firm Deloitte’s annual ranking of the world’s 100 biggest luxury brands, their luster has been fading recently thanks to China’s luxury slowdown and Hong Kong’s retail slump. 

The firm’s newly released “Global Powers of Luxury Goods 2016” report finds that out of the eight mainland Chinese or Hong Kong brands that made the list, total sales dropped by 6.8 percent. While this was the only region whose luxury brands saw negative growth, total sales still took up a higher percentage than those of UK brands with 10.7 percent of total sales among brands on the list.

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All of the Hong Kong jewelry companies that were on last year’s list have seen their rankings drop this year. Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook remains in the top 10, but dropped down to 7th place this year from 4th place on last year’s list. This puts it ahead of giants including L’Oreal, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger owner PVH, Rolex, and Hermès, respectively, but it now sits behind LVMH, Richemont, Estée Lauder, Luxottica, Swatch, and Kering.

The numbers on the 2016 list are based on earnings from 2014. In that year, Chow Tai Fook saw 2 percent composite sales growth, a number less than the average rate of 3.6 percent for the top 100 companies.

Chow Tai Fook’s Hong Kong competitors haven’t fared much better. Chow Sang Sang saw a slight decrease, moving down to 25th place from 24th, while Luk Fook plunged from 25th place to 31st this year. And it wasn’t just Hong Kong’s jewelry brands that felt the pain. Hong Kong-based fashion conglomerate Trinity, which owns the labels Cerruti 1881, Kent & Curwen, and Gieves & Hawkes, decreased from 71st to 77th.

Mainland Chinese luxury saw more mixed results on this year’s list—Zhejiang Ming Jewelry also moved down, landing in 42nd place after being listed as 37th last year. But the mainland’s biggest jeweler Lao Feng Xiang, which boasts a fancy flagship on New York’s Fifth Avenue, actually gained strength. It moved up from being the 16th-largest luxury company in the world last year to the 14th largest this year, dominating Prada in 15th and Michael Kors in 16th. In addition, a new company called Eastern Gold Jade made its debut on the list, popping in at 53rd—one slot ahead of Versace.

“Both mainland China and Hong Kong continue to experience a slowdown in luxury goods spending, with economic uncertainty dampening consumer confidence,” says the report on the reasons for the decreases. “The Hong Kong market has also been affected by the strained relations between China and Hong Kong, with many wealthy Chinese tourists staying away. The middle-class consumers who used to visit Hong Kong mainly for shopping are now turning to overseas markets or cross-border e-retailers for better prices.”

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Market Trends, Retail