Apple is No. 1 luxury gift brand in China: Survey

Apple is No. 1 luxury gift brand in China: Survey

SHANGHAI/SEOUL - Apple has taken the No. 1 luxury gift spot in China from designer-goods maker Hermes International, according to a Hurun luxury report yesterday, reflecting the iPhone-maker's recent hot streak in the country.

Hermes dropped to seventh from the top spot last year, while Chinese premium liquor maker Kweichow Moutai re-entered the top 10 after a two-year hiatus, a potentially positive sign after sales were hit by the anti-luxury campaign.

Apple was followed by LVMH Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton, Kering's Gucci and Chanel.

The iPhone-maker's focus on glitzy stores and high prices helped it post a 70 per cent rise in sales in China in the last three months of last year, and powered the company to its largest profit in corporate history.

Apple also caught up with Samsung as the world's biggest smartphone vendor in the fourth quarter of last year, thanks to booming sales of its iPhone 6, market researcher Strategy Analytics said yesterday.

Strategy Analytics said Apple shipped 74.5 million handsets in the fourth quarter, compared with 51 million a year ago.

Samsung logged the same number of shipments which, in its case, marked a dip from 86 million the previous year.

The turnaround saw Samsung's share of the global smartphone market tumble from 30 per cent to 19.6 per cent, on a par with Apple.

In China, spending on gifts overall dropped 5 per cent last year, after a 25 per cent drop the year before, according to the Hurun Chinese Luxury Consumer Survey. Beijing has been cracking down on corruption and luxury spending among public officials, weighing down sales of items from premium liquor to handbags.

Domestic luxury spending in China dipped for the first time last year, according to consultancy Bain & Co, with increasing numbers of shoppers looking to spend money overseas.

"Travel retail continues to change the dynamics of luxury in China, with seven out of 10 luxury goods bought by Chinese now being bought overseas," said Hurun Report chairman Rupert Hoogewerf.

The report was based on a survey of close to 400 millionaires, each with at least a personal wealth of 10 million yuan (S$2.2 million).

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