In the latest Agility China Luxury Brand Affinity Rankings for 2021, the ‘Old Guard’ dominated the top ten with a high-end Asian beauty brand just missing out by a hair’s breadth.
Agility Research & Strategy, the global Insights & Strategy Consultancy specialising in luxury and premium brands, has released its Agility China Luxury Brand Affinity Rankings for 2021, and in this years list, as expected, it was dominated by legendary names in the industry.
COVID-19 has played havoc with many businesses around the world. However, the impact of the pandemic on the Chinese luxury market has probably been far less severe due to the country’s rapid bounce back.
The Agility China Luxury Brand Affinity Rankings is the consultancy’s first ranking report since the outbreak and tracked the performance of fifty-five brands. The ranking involved twelve key performance and perception metrics, three of which were behavioural, with the remaining nine looking at brand strength via stature metrics.
The brands were ranked according to their consolidated Agility Luxury Brand Affinity (ALBA) score, which is an average of the individual performance scores on each of the twelve metrics.
The Top 10 Luxury Brands Post-COVID
The top ten list was made up of brands from the fashion, luxury and beauty categories. Unsurprisingly, hospitality, travel retail and spirits brands came lower in the order.
Prestige brands with strong pre-pandemic equity have seen stellar performance through the pandemic. They have managed to navigate the pitfalls of the pandemic period extremely well and, in the process, have optimised their equity and consolidated their position. Consumers responded to these overtures by flocking to these brands in droves.
Chanel came out as the number one brand in China, with an Agility Luxury Brand Affinity (ALBA) score of 99. It was not a surprising result as Chanel has always been an iconic and highly desired brand among Chinese consumers. During and post the pandemic, the iconic brand has been able to keep up its position across multiple product categories but most notably in fashion. Its performance was consistently better across all metrics compared to the rest of the 55 brands tracked.
LVMH Maison Dior came in second with an ALBA Score of 87. LVMH’s emphasis on the Chinese market through the pandemic has ensured that its brands and, in particular, Dior have remained salient and engaging. Consumers noticed these efforts and viewed them as admirable across all metrics. The key reason for coming in behind Chanel was due to its lower scores on metrics contributing to the Brand Stature dimension. These were Trust, Admiration, and Social Responsibility.
Hermès took the number three spot on the list, with an ALBA Score of 83. Its brand stature and strength are second to none. However, it came in third only because of its performance based on its behaviour metrics (Gifting, Recommendation, Purchase).
The number four position was shared by Lancôme, Estee Lauder, and Gucci, all with an ALBA score of 77. Lancôme and Estee Lauder are the first exclusive beauty brands appearing on the list, and their performances are comparable across metrics. However, unsurprisingly they ranked behind the big three luxury brands when it came to the brand stature metrics.
Gucci does exceptionally well on both brand strength and stature. Its scores are up there, with the big three luxury brands only falling short due to its behaviour metrics. This is likely down to consumers prioritising the bigger brands when it came to spending.
The Chinese market is more polarised than it was in the pre-pandemic era. Fashion and luxury brands have further consolidated their top positions. This means that brands with comparatively lower equity will have to up their game in the post-Covid era, particularly those who are reliant on travel such as hospitality, travel retail and wine and spirits.
Another point of note from the Agility China Luxury Brand Affinity Rankings for 2021 is that no Asian luxury brands made it into the top ten list. The closest was Shiseido, who just missed the top ten by placing eleventh. However, although it is a prestige beauty brand, it is not yet considered to be a true luxury brand.
For more information on Agility Research & Strategy, visit their website www.agility-research.com.