Saturday, September 02, 2006

Korean Status Society: Vuitton or Gucci

I'm often quizzed by Americans on what gift might be appropriate to give visiting Korean executives and teams. Gift giving is appreciated and a norm in Korean business. Nevertheless, many well-wishing westerners have a poor understanding of Modern Korea. In fact, when discussing gifts, I often suggest that giving visiting Koreans Burberry or Gucci ties is not really appropriate. Yes, Koreans would enjoy the gift, but Korean stores have for years carried a wide and diverse collection of global fashion. This article gives a snapshot of the wide variety of luxury brands available in Korea. The article also highlights the "status" dimension of Korean society.

Vuitton or Gucci: Which Brand Is Korea's Favorite?

According to the Lotte Department Store duty-free shop, Louis Vuitton was Koreans√É‚? favorite luxury brand in July. It was followed by SK-2, Channel, Estee Lauder, Lancome, Christian Dior, Gucci, Sisley, Burberry, Etro, Shiseido, Cartier, Ferragamo, Guerlain, Clinique, Biotherm, La Prairie, Bulgari, Fendi and Coach.

But a recent poll of 5,661 people on top-drawer brands conducted by online marketplace G Market showed Gucci in first with 22.1 percent. All age groups from teenagers to those in their 70s loved the Italian leather goods brand. Louis Vuitton, Channel, Burberry and Christian Dior followed with 15.9 percent, 13.2 percent, 7.4 percent and 6.2 percent. Other names in the top 20 included Cartier, Ralph Lauren, Ferragamo, Prada, Versace, Armani, Bulgari, Fendi, Bally, Escada, Etro, Celine, Hermes, Coach and Ermenegildo Zegna.

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