Sunday, June 23, 2024

Gucci vs LV vs Dior: Which brand topped China’s Q1 digital rankings?

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In a dazzling display of digital engagement, Louis Vuitton clinched top spot in Re-Hub’s Compass Index for luxury brands (luxury fashion and leather goods category) in China for the first quarter of 2024. Gucci and Dior followed in second and third spots.

By harvesting and analyzing social metric data from dominant platforms like WeChat, Weibo, Douyin, and Xiaohongshu, the luxury data analytics company’s quarterly index provides a barometer for brand performance in China.

Re-Hub’s 2024 Q1 Compass Index Top 50 for luxury fashion and leather goods. Image: Re-Hub

Lead movers and shakers

Louis Vuitton’s triumph is attributed to its dynamic digital strategy, which included a series of longer-form video content on Douyin, generating over 2.5 million engagements in merely three months. The use of videos highlighted the brand’s diverse fashion categories and runway shows, resonating powerfully with its audience.

Gucci came second, perhaps surprising many who speculated that Sabato de Sarno’s more muted style would fail to attract attention. However, this position underscores a report by RTG Consulting that showed Gucci remains the most relevant luxury brand in Shanghai and the second across all of Asia-Pacific.

“Gucci rose up the index rankings in Q1 thanks to its Ancora event in Shanghai,” explains Re-Hub’s head of strategy Thomas Piachaud. “With significant investment generating significant buzz, it helped the brand outperform the likes of Dior and Prada.”

“Amid the backdrop of perceived difficulties with the brand, this is an important step in righting the ship,” he adds. “And is perhaps an early indication of the brand at least attempting to do so – with a positive response from China.”

Miuccia Prada’s powerhouse status is again cemented with both Prada and Miu Miu moving up at number 4 and 13, respectively. This upward trajectory was also seen at Versace (12), Tod’s (15), Bottega Veneta (27) and Armani (24) in what seems to have been a good season for iconic Italian brands on Chinese socials.

Though Hermès’ slight descent in the rankings stems from its recent venture into Xiaohongshu, industry experts believe the move is part of a planned expansion. This development, in concert with Dior’s foray into e-commerce with a mini-program, underscores a strategic shift by luxury giants to digitally evolve and court new consumers.

Celebrity boosts

In an unexpected twist, premium brands Lacoste and Furla soared up the rankings, with strategic celebrity endorsements amplifying their presence. Lacoste’s enlistment of star Wang Yibo, a renowned member of South Korean/Chinese boy band band Uniq, and Furla’s signing of Karry Wang from idol band TF Boys, both sparked a market frenzy, showcasing the influential power of celebrity brand ambassadors in the digital age.

Lacoste campaign featuring actor and dancer Wang Yibo. Photo: Wang Yibo/Weibo
Lacoste campaign featuring actor and dancer Wang Yibo. Photo: Wang Yibo/Weibo

This seasonal boost shows how brands “can drive relevance and interest,” says Piachaud. “However, marketing is only one piece of the puzzle, and to truly capture this opportunity, they must pair this with strong products, breakthrough experiences, and the supply-chain support to ensure availability.”

Xiao Zhan, a popular actor turned luxury brand ambassador, has continued his winning streak of driving high engagement levels.

“In Q4 he was instrumental in skyrocketing Boucheron up the Compass Watch and Jewelry Ranking,” Piachaud says. This quarter, his partnership with Tod’s propelled the label’s rank from 39th to 15th, highlighting the extent of his clout.

The stars with such pulling power are few and far between, however.

Piachaud concurs that “currently a handful of celebrities can effectively drive the types of engagement that result in huge uplifts in engagement, and even fewer have the star-power to turn this engagement into sales.” This means that as the return on investment for these costly celebrity collaborations could be rather short-term; more needs to be done to maintain momentum for sustainable brand growth.

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