Luxury brands in China made major digital strides in the past year, including launching e-commerce, adopting WeChat, and optimizing for mobile. However, more than three out of five brands in L2’s Digital IQ Index : Luxury China still rank either Challenged or Feeble. Asia-based brands maintain the highest rankings, with all but one of the Chinese brands falling into the Genius or Gifted categories.
- Chow Tai Fook
Digital IQ: 163
The local jewelry brand holds onto the top spot by optimizing its presence on e-commerce platforms. On Tmall and JD.com, the brand controls 100% of first-page brand search results, protecting itself from the threat of gray market vendors. Online display and long-tail paid search advertising, as well as a SEO strategy tailored for local consumer search behavior, support those efforts.
Digital IQ: 152
After falling from the Genius ranks, Burberry returned this year thanks to strong localized efforts to reinforce its branding. The global brand turned runway fashion into fast fashion, letting fashion show viewers preorder personalized items directly from the runway video. Another smart move was enlisting Chinese superstar Wu Yifan to model in its 2016 Fall/Winter Menswear fashion show, thus generating significant engagement on social platforms.
Digital IQ: 151
Coach relies heavily on WeChat to connect its online and offline businesses: for example, by distributing WeChat coupons valid both online and in-store. For one UGC campaign, the brand purchased WeChat Moments and multiple Weibo advertisements and leveraged a broad network of celebrities and influencers. As a result, the campaign video garnered more than one million views and the brand’s WeChat followers increased by 35,000.
Digital IQ: 141
Cartier also invests in WeChat advertising, calling on local influencers such as movie star Zhang Zhen, who marked the launch of the brand’s Clé de Cartier watch series. Additionally, Cartier boosts sales abroad by offering Chinese tourists a product translation tool and overseas store geolocator with reservation capabilities in WeChat.
- Chow Sang Sang
Digital IQ: 137
Along with Chow Tai Fook, the local brand leads the Index when it comes to Tmall and JD store innovation and search visibility, as well as on Youku and WeChat. In addition to boasting a synchronized loyalty program across its site, Tmall and WeChat, the brand invests in robust display advertising for both desktop and mobile.
- Tommy Hilfiger
Digital IQ: 132
The global brand has aggressively expanded e-commerce, offering its full range of products on its China DTC site as well as stores on Tmall and JD. The brand also offers sophisticated online shopping assistance, and strong cross-selling tactics and a robust loyalty program encourage future purchases.
Digital IQ: 128
Gucci is the most searched brand on Baidu, signaling its name recognition with Chinese consumers. The brand maintains that momentum on Weibo, where it boasts more than 600,000 highly engaged fans.
Digital IQ: 126
Valentino jumped from Feeble to Gifted this year with the launch of its DTC site, which it supported with robust advertising on fashion magazine and community sites. Baidu search volume surged to nearly 1.5 times the 2014 level, reflecting efforts to raise visibility with SEO and SEM.
- Calvin Klein
Digital IQ: 125
Calvin Klein leveraged WeChat in-feed ads to promote its global #myCalvins campaign, signaling that it recognizes the importance of the messaging platform. Additionally, the brand expanded online distribution by opening storefronts on Tmall and JD.
- Louis Vuitton
Digital IQ: 124
The brand’s SEO and SEM efforts pay off on Baidu, where brands are often crowded out by community sites, e-tailers, and the search engine itself. Louis Vuitton also gains points for its well-received Pass app, which it promotes on mobile search.