Louis Vuitton Store Las Vegas

The last time we mentioned Louis Vuitton’s exclusivity problem, you guys had a lot to say, and much of it was demonstrative of the challenges that Vuitton faces going forward – how does a company whose incredibly recognizable logo bags have become ubiquitous maintain its air of exclusivity for top-tier customers? And if those top-tier customers leave, will customers at the lower tiers go looking for their little slice of luxury elsewhere? Is this a problem that Louis Vuitton has waited too long to fix? Based on the double-digit dip that the company’s value took last year, things could be better at LVMH’s flagship brand.

The Millward Brown BrandZ Top 100 (which sounds made up, but is not) ranks the 100 most valuable luxury companies in the world every year based on their total value, and although Louis Vuitton is still at the top of that list, the brand is down 12% year on year. Given that Louis Vuitton acknowledges it has an image problem, it’s probably not an unexpected dip, but worrisome all the same for a conglomerate with a handbag brand as its backbone. Meanwhile, competitors Prada and Gucci surged 63% and 48%, respectively. According to Business of Fashion, the stark difference in the performance of the three brands can be pinned on the fact that Gucci and Prada “are better managing the trade-off between exclusivity and affordability.”

The performance of Gucci in particular might show a way forward for Louis Vuitton – the company has put increased emphasis on its fine leather and exotic offerings in recent years, including some of the most expensive pieces available on the mass market today, while still offering plenty of recognizable, logo-covered canvas handbags and accessories for entry-level customers. Vuitton’s strategy includes both expanding its upper-echelon offerings and increasing prices across the board to discourage “downmarket” customers from coming on board and scaring away the apparently very sensitive rich folks, and only time will tell if it’s too little, too late.

In the meantime, tell us – the top four luxury brands are Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci and Prada, in that order. If you had to bet on one long-term, which would it be?

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  • laura

    Hermes

  • shueaddict

    hermes, hands down!!!! if I could buy their stock I would

  • Iréne Shûkriya-Dutta Scharief

    Hermes, they know quality will last forever. Other brands just want profits, profits, profits!

  • Chris

    That is easy: Hermes. If they manage to stay a family company and not eaten up by LV, then they will be one of the best luxury brands for a long time to come.

  • Sandra

    I really would not count Louis Vuitton out as a long term powerhouse….LV has always offered the more expensive runway collections along with the more affordable entry level offerings. While I am in the category that no longer wants a logo plastered Speedy, I really loved my first one and I have it still. When a brand hits critical mass it is inevitable that a down turn is going to happen. All LV needs is a new logo pattern, something new and different and all the people who currently own a LV Speedy, Delightful, Neverfull….will again run to the nearest LV location to purchase another bag.

  • NB81283

    Hermes and then Louis Vuitton. Love them both…

  • Jen

    Hermes. Too many people own LV or LV counterfeit items which ruin it for the love of being somewhat exclusive. It’s especially disheartening when everything else they are wearing looks like it came from the Salvation Army. The LV logo does not mean ‘luxury’ or ‘exclusive’ to anyone I know anymore.

  • lavinia

    Dear Amanda, first of all my compliments for the very interesting article!!! Well done. it will be Hermes (all my life) because has a very good market positioning and goes in that direction with integrity (in terms of market speaking) does not change way every two minutes (see LV), for me it maintains the promise to be luxury the WHOLE TIME. No way. Prada will always be on top because I know Patrizio Bertelli he is a financial man he knows what he does. Gucci turned in the right direction in the right moment (about 3 years ago), while LV was still resting on its laurels…

    • http://www.purseblog.com/ Amanda Mull

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed the post, I love when there’s something news-y to share with you guys.

  • Bolsaetc

    Hermés!!

  • Guest

    Hermes.

  • Bishoporter

    Prada, I want to say Hermes but when the Kardashians are toting one in every color everywhere it no longer reflects exclusivity or quality (as in protecting the brand). I remember the episode in Sex in the City when Samantha says the “Birkin” is for Lucy Lui, but really its for her. So I guess now Hermes is turning into Louis Vuitton, just at a higher price point. Something about the idea that even with money you can’t get everything made a Birkin special, as I stated earlier if a Kardashian can have one in every color for a fake life then he brand is cheap. Prada is classic, forever, and hasn’t compromised who they are.

  • Cuckoo-Boo

    Hermes. Simple, elegant, classic, timeless, effortless.

  • Jennie M

    Hermes, Gucci, louis vuitton, Chanel,Fendi…Hermes hands down long term. Louis vuitton keeps going up on prices and that just turns a lot of people off even the ones whom can afford it. I rather by a louis vuitton second hand.. at the rate the increase is going up no one will want to buy a louis…the price isn’t matching the quality any more (bags are not made exclusively in france any more they’re made in america, spain, italy, germany etc)

  • fleurz

    I think gucci has the best lasting power because hermes has some very affordable pieces like braceletes at $600, prada & LV are being overtaken by asians more than the other brands and gucci is increasing its prices and coming out with amazing collections. Even though gucci has many logo pieces, they will soon realize that those dot sell and eventually get rid of them. Hermes is also not even that worth it, and considering how much the brand blew up, it’s destined to plunge. Personally, I wouldnt be surprised if Fendi or SLP/YSL made it to the finish line before any other brand.

  • hdj

    Zilli

  • Citizenlen

    I would say Prada for the most affordable but still maintain luxurious lifestyle. they are a known brand but have not polluted the market because they never issue bags logo galore. LV pretty much raped the logo bag craze and they’re in the downward spiral. Gucci still has the luxury feel but entry level buyers are parading the dreaded logo bags which can lead to LV situation if they are not careful. Gucci does provide many classic line but I feel they are not modern enough that they will lose out on the younger market. Hermes Birkin/Kelly will always stay as the covetable ultimate bag. Though they have other lines it has become a status symbol due to many celebs and Kardashian that it feels over exposed that it is losing the “it” factor.

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