The brand positioning of Louis Vuitton in Singapore as compared to Hermès, Gucci and other fashion brands (based onpricing and exclusivity):
Market Share in Asia
Looking at the overall revenues for luxury goods in Asia-Pacific in 2010, we can see that Asia-Pacific’s sales account for 16%, and Louis Vuitton’s sales in Asia in 2010 accounted for 25% of their revenue, signaling that Louis Vuitton is a notable luxury goods player in the Asian market. Although actual sales figures could not be obtained for Singapore, we can assume that Louis Vuitton commands a substantial market share in the luxury goods market in Singapore as well.
Target Market in Singapore
Louis Vuitton uses demographic targeting strategy to target their customers, namely both the men and women population in Singapore. More specifically, their ages range from 22 to 65 years old – adults that have the ability to spend on Louis Vuitton’s range of products. Their target consumers will most likely belong to the middle- or high-income classes in Singapore.
Prestigious Brand Image
All 3 brands are long-standing, well-established luxury brands that cater to the high-end market. The premium prices, high quality and elegant designs of each of the 3 brands’ products serve to create prestigious brand images. This in turn leads to the brands’ products to be positioned as status symbols in consumers’ minds.
High Quality Materials and Fine Craftsmanship
Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Hermès all offer high quality designer apparel, footwear and accessories. Across the 3 brands, the product category that accounts for most of consumers’ brand awareness is that of designer handbags. Each designer bag is made of high quality materials with all or some elements hand stitched by craftsmen, thus contributing to their fine workmanship and premium prices.
All 3 brands predominantly use leather and other animal skins to craft their bags. Louis Vuitton handbags and luggage pieces contain elements that are painstakingly hand stitched and then put together by mechanized processes to increase productivity. Gucci bags are constructed similar to Louis Vuitton bags while Hermès bags are completely hand stitched.
Exclusive Distribution Channels
Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Hermès sell their products through selective distribution channels. This strategy allows the luxury brands to maintain an air of exclusivity surrounding their product offerings, to appeal to consumers of the high-end market who wish to differentiate themselves from the masses by using branded products as status symbols of wealth, elegance and style.
The 3 brands retail their products mainly on high streets, in exclusive shopping malls and online on the brands’ official websites. By choosing to sell their items directly to consumers via limited retail channels, the luxury brands can also control product quality and pricing.
Louis Vuitton offers bespoke services, such as the personal engraving service on hand luggage pieces. By offering consumers the choice to personalize and customize their wallets, bags and other leather goods, Louis Vuitton effectively boosts its brand appeal amongst consumers who wish to differentiate their leather goods to suit their personal tastes.
Gucci has bespoke services as well, for selected apparel, footwear and bags. Hermès also provides a similar service for bags and scarves, two of the brand’s most famous products. For example, Hermès’ Custom Silk Corner allows consumers to customize their own classic scarf using the brand’s scarf embroidery service.
These bespoke services allow the luxury brands to maintain the notion of exclusivity: that nobody has it, and maintains their premium image in the luxury goods market.
Louis Vuitton Monogram
Almost all Louis Vuitton handbags, luggage pieces and small leather goods are emblazoned with the classic and distinctive Louis Vuitton monogram. The easily recognizable monogram is seen as a symbol of prestige amongst consumers willing to pay for the timeless monogrammed pieces.
Indeed, it is what sets the brand apart the most from its competitors like Gucci and Hermès. Gucci’s monogram is of its own distinctive style, while Hermès chooses not to embellish their bags with a monogram but instead strive for plain simple designs.
Collaborations with prominent artists and designers
Louis Vuitton engages in numerous collaborations with prominent artists and designers like Takashi Murakami and Yayoi Kusama to release special edition collections of leather goods. These special collections feature the artists’ artwork while introducing a radical twist in the brand’s timeless design. These collections allow Louis Vuitton to emphasize creativity and art, while expanding the brand’s range of luxury leather goods to effectively keep up with the evolving trends in the fashion industry.
Close competitors such as Gucci and Hermès choose to focus more on their timeless, classic designs and thus do not produce many artistic products.
Focus on Creativity
Apart from selling luxury fashion goods, Louis Vuitton also delves into art and architecture. Louis Vuitton encourages consumers’ appreciation of art in hopes that consumers will embody creativity, not only in their personal fashion sense but also in every aspect of their lives. Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo and Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton in Paris serve as exhibition places for stunning architecture and new contemporary artworks created by young talents around the world. The “Louis Vuitton – Marc Jacobs” exhibition in Paris also serves as a place to showcase the designer’s creative expression. Lastly, the Louis Vuitton Art Wall allows people from around the world to express their creative personal fashion styles and serves as “aspirational role models”.
Focus on Heritage
Louis Vuitton was founded in 18654 in Paris and is one of the oldest luxury fashion houses in world. Louis Vuitton prides itself on its rich heritage and culture as a longstanding brand, and expresses its rich history in all aspects — timeless product designs, interior decor of Louis Vuitton Maisons around the world, Espace exhibitions and advertisements.
Consumers currently think of luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci as “tainted by the common touch”, as they are becoming more ubiquitous. This causes the dilution of the brands’ exclusivity. Apart from the bespoke services previously mentioned, Gucci and Hermès do not emphasize the importance of individual creativity and self expression in consumers’ daily lives. Thus, Louis Vuitton’s strong focus on creativity in art and architecture allows the brand to effectively stand out from its competitors in terms of inspiration and innovation.
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LVMH Interim Financial Report (30 June 2011). Retrieved from http://www.lvmh.com/uploads/assets/Com-fi/Documents/en/Reports/Reports_2011/LVMH_2011_First_half_financial_report.pdf
Laura Jacobs (2007). From Hermès to Eternity. Retrieved from http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2007/09/hermes200709
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Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo. Retrieved from http://espacelouisvuittontokyo.com/en/about