The gray market is a growing problem in China, but Gucci may have taken defending its trademark too far.
The brand’s parent company Kering wrote to several Hong Kong-based stores last week, asking them to stop selling paper offerings for the dead marked with the Gucci logo. However, the company ended up apologizing amid criticism that it lacked cultural sensitivity regarding this traditional funeral practice.
While Gucci has struggled in China this year, closing stores and slashing prices in efforts to deal with the continuing economic slowdown, the incident reflects the brand’s continued cachet. Gucci is one of the most-searched Luxury labels on Baidu, and those searches increased by 26% in the past year, according to L2’s Digital IQ Index: Luxury China. However, with China accounting for almost a third of Gucci sales, the brand will need to be more thoughtful in its anti-counterfeit efforts.