Men are more likely than women to opt
for a luxury brand when buying handbags -- and it's the label, not the
price, that counts, according to a survey of wealthy shoppers.
The Luxury Institute on Tuesday said the demand for luxury bags remains
strong, with about one third of 1,500 wealthy American shoppers surveyed
buying a branded bag in the last 12 months.
"The luxury handbag is the accessory that defines the wealthy woman and
is a major profit driver for luxury fashion brands," said Milton Pedraza,
chief executive of the New York-based researcher focused on wealthy
The Luxury Institute found that men were more likely than women to
reach for a luxury label when buying a handbag -- 73 percent of men,
compared with 50 percent of women -- and over three times more likely to
choose luxury French brand Chanel.
But overall, U.S. label Coach has become the most popular bag among
wealthy shoppers, leading with a 29 percent market share with other brands
compete heavily for the rest of the pie.
The survey of shoppers with an average income of $308,000 and average
net worth of $3.1 million found Coach was the most familiar brand of
designer handbags, recognized by 52 percent of respondents.
That compared to 24 percent for Gucci, 22 percent for Louis Vuitton,
and 21 percent for Prada.
But familiarity with the pricier Italian brands rises as wealth
increases, according to the report.
Looking at consumers whose yearly paycheck was above $300,000, the
survey found that 38 percent were familiar with Coach, while 34 percent
were aware of Gucci.
Price did not come into the equation even though bags from luxury
fashion houses such as Chanel, Prada and Gucci, can cost in the thousands
of dollars, while Coach bags generally cost hundreds of dollars.
Consumers said the price was not as important a consideration as
quality and reputation when judging between luxury brands.