The top 5 brands in the China luxury market

Higher disposable income means that Chinese consumers have turned their attention to the luxury market. As a sign of success and wealth, luxury goods allow Chinese people to demonstrate their achievements. China has quickly become one of the top luxury markets in the world, outselling many European counties by significant margins.

So which brands do the Chinese covet the most? We take a look at the most searched-for brands online in 2013.

1. Audi (China luxury car market)

With the China luxury market expected to outpace the USA in car sales by 2016, it is fitting that the most searched luxury brand of 2013 was the German car manufacturer Audi. Audi has been enjoying record sales in China over the past few years, with a “double digit” percentage growth forecast in 2014, meaning sales of at least 540,000 vehicles. In 2013 Audi outsold rival luxury car firm Mercedes by more than two-to-one and sold 26% more units than BMW (source: Bloomberg).

2. BMW (China luxury car market)

Being beaten to the number one spot by a rival car firm won’t bother BMW too much, as the China luxury car market is proving to be highly lucrative for the company. A 20% increase in sales in 2013 made China the manufacturer’s biggest market. 390,713 BMWs and Minis were sold: nearly 15,000 more than their second largest market: the United States. BMW intends to increase local production and number of dealers through joint Chinese ventures, allowing it to keep pace with the forecast annual rise in the China luxury car market of 12%, lasting until at least 2020 (source: Reuters).

 3. Chanel (Luxury fashion market)

In 2013 Chanel beat rival fashion brand Louis Vuitton to become China’s favourite. With a range of offerings on the market, from fragrances to handbags, Chanel’s way of operating is often the template other brands try to follow. Chanel have aimed for exclusivity, and as such have kept their number of boutiques small (just three in Shanghai) in order to focus on quality and customer care (source: CNN).

4. Estée Lauder (Luxury fashion market)

Estée Lauder’s growing popularity can likely be attributed to one particular strategy: they developed an entirely new brand for their Chinese consumers. As well as making almost half of its 28 cosmetics brands available in the Chinese market, Estée Lauder introduced Osiao, a new line of products that caters to the needs and tastes of Asian customers. The brand uses traditional Chinese ingredients – such as ginseng – for authenticity, while labelling the products in English to emphasize the much sought-after foreign aspects of the brand (source: New York Times).

5. Louis Vuitton (Luxury fashion market)

Dropping two places since 2012, Louis Vuitton may have suffered from over exposure in the Chinese market. An abundance of the product, combined with Chanel’s strategy of few sites to promote exclusivity has made Louis Vuitton’s sales fall. The fact that other brands offer a larger variety of product ranges, such as cosmetics, could also have a role to play in luring customers away from the once favourite luxury fashion brand in China (source: Forbes).

These brands may be vast global companies, but often the key to their successes can be applied to lots of different products. Chanel created a feeling of exclusivity, BMW moved with increasing demand in the China luxury car market, and Estée Lauder combined the most sought-after features of both domestic products and foreign brands. These strategies could easily work with your brand too.

(Image source: Image created by Teerapun |