10 Most Digitally Savvy Luxury Brands in China

on October 5 2010 | in Auto Beauty Digital List of Lists Retail | by | with No Comments

Estee Lauder Fuchsia now

In a country with a huge number of internet users (384 million and counting), an e-commerce market that has quadrupled in the last few years, and the average age of luxury consumers under 45 who are more digitally sophisticated, luxury brands with a robust digital strategy in China will see enormous growth.

So which luxury brands have the right combination of digital savviness in China?

Luxury think tank L2 in partnership with Labbrand ranked 100 global luxury brands in five categories (beauty, auto, fashion, watches & jewelry and spirits) for their digital savvy. These 10 luxury brands top the list.

1. Lancôme

Beauty & Skincare
Search-optimized site delivers on sales and local relevance; manages brand community four million subscribers strong.

2. BMW

Strong presence across multiple sites; online owners’ club connects brand evangelists.

3. Estee Lauder

Beauty & Skincare
Site features Chinese celebrities and local products.

4. Audi

Brand presence is strong in social media; one of only three auto brands that maintain active social forums.

5. Clinique

Beauty & Skincare
Impressive site platform; could do better tapping potential of the social web.

6. Mercedes-Benz

Ranks highest in social media; Cleverly designed an online ad for its new model which was launched on the day of eclipse in China.

7. Clarins

Beauty & Skincare
Site emphasizes importance of whitening and sun protection.

8. Acura

Strongest site ranking in category, but falls short of peers in social media and digital marketing.

9. Cadillac

Site platform delivers, but brand lags in social media.

10. Wuliangye

Spirits & Champagne
Only Chinese brand to break into the top 10; strong site traffic and consumer relevance.

Of the 100 luxury brands, 20 of them do not have a Chinese language site and only 10 have e-commerce capability. Beauty companies lead in e-commerce, with six of 13 brands selling online. They also have invested in branded 2.0 communities or microsites. Top ranked Lancôme launched an online community, Rose Beauty in 2006, which now has four million subscribers.  Estee Lauder and Clarins also host branded beauty communities. BMW has created a community for the estimated 150,000 BMW drivers in China through its MyBMWClub.cn site.

Local Chinese luxury brands are generally early entrants in e-commerce but are not able to generate nearly as much buzz in social media or search engines when compared to their global luxury counterparts. Chinese liquor brand Moutai, Hong Kong jeweler Luk Fook, Chinese beauty company Herborist, and Hong Kong fashion label Shanghai Tang all have e-commerce capability.

Interestingly, luxury fashion brands lagged other categories with fashion category leader, Louis Vuitton, making a showing at #19 in the overall rankings. The biggest fear about e-commerce among many luxury brands is that it will cheapen the brand and downgrade the sales experience.

The entire report can be viewed at L2.

photo credit: estee lauder

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