Image: L2

“China’s economic slowdown and the ongoing trade war with the U.S. have had luxury brands worried about consumer sentiment, but Chinese shoppers are still stocking up on high-end handbags — and sneakers,” research and business intelligence firm L2 stated in its recently-released Top 10 Luxury Brands in China ranking. Growth by luxury brands in spite of lingering concerns over consumer spending has been achieve “by adapting to Gen Z trends like streetwear and sneakers while leveraging new breed of Chinese brand ambassadors, particularly young pop idols, to promote their products online.”

With that in mind, L2 took a look at brands with “the strongest digital performance within the current circumstances, both national and international,” and Louis Vuitton – the world’s largest luxury goods brand – topped the list with a “Genius”-level digital IQ, jumping up for the number 3 position on last year’s list.

L2 noted that Vuitton’s emphasis on “streetwear products and announcement of Kris Wu as its global brand ambassador,” paired with its official launch of e-commerce to all of mainland China in July 2018 and its utilization of “the streetwear ‘drop’ model with a WeChat pop-up shop Mini Program for popular sneakers designed by Virgil Abloh.”

2018’s Top 10 Luxury Brands in China List

Further down on the list at number 4, L2 characterized Gucci as “an expert in building online hype,” and pointed to its failure to “neglect the basics of digital competence: its sophisticated China brand site offers functionality like anti-fraud education and tools, customization, store inventory and more.

Still yet, in the number 9 spot, Burberry – which was in the number 6 spot for 2018 – experienced a decline in social engagement “after the brand held a celebrity-free fashion show to ring in the [creative director Riccardo] Tisci era.” More than that, the brand’s fall from the top spot is due, per L2, to its “Chinese New Year campaign garnered some criticism for being culturally out of touch.”

Nonetheless, “The brand’s embrace of monthly digital drops of streetwear items via a WeChat Mini Program show its continued commitment to experimenting with novel luxury e-commerce models that appeal to China’s digitally connected younger generation.”