Report: European Luxury Handbags Dominate In China

China Accounts For 3rd-Largest Volume Of Luxury Handbag Searches

China is the third-largest country in terms of luxury handbag search volume

This week, the Digital Luxury Group (DLG) and the Luxury Society published the 2012 WorldHandbagReport, analyzing over 120 luxury handbag brands in 10 of the world’s top luxury markets, including Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States. In total, over 120 million individual online searches from the world’s top search engines were collected and examined to understand the factors currently impacting the luxury handbag industry the most.

Focused on the global handbag market, the report does delve into a couple of valuable China-specific pointers:

1. European brands are dominating in China: After the US and the UK, China represents the 3rd-largest volume of luxury handbag searches, affirming its position as a global luxury leader, despite a slowdown seen this year among some brands. Fueling Chinese consumer demand for handbags are major European players such as Chanel, Gucci, and Hermès. According to the report, nine out of the top 10 most sought-after luxury handbag brands in China are of European heritage, with American label Coach being the single outlier.

Chinese shoppers are still fixated on European brands

2. Louis Vuitton is the #1 luxury handbag brand globally, but has challenges ahead in key Asian markets: Louis Vuitton attracts an impressive 15 percent of the global search volume for luxury handbags, with most of the interest coming from the US and France. Surprisingly, Louis Vuitton does not succeed in obtaining the top position in the major Asian markets of China and Japan, in spite of the brand being somewhat synonymous with luxury handbags in the region. One factor that may explain this, in Japan at least, is the fact that 85 percent of Japanese women already own items from the brand.

European domination in terms of Chinese online searches should provide some reassurance for brand powerhouses like Burberry and Mulberry, who have had a rollercoaster few months to say the least. For others, Chinese demand may mean near future stability; however, we can certainly foresee some brands going down the same path that Louis Vuitton has encountered in Japan. As the Chinese shopper becomes increasingly seasoned, and the middle class continues its rise, the question brands encounter is no longer how to sell the Chinese consumer their first bag, but how to sell them their third or fourth. To this end, luxury stalwarts like Louis Vuitton will have to keep turning on their creative engines to stay in the spotlight.

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