Web survey finds China's netizens obsessed with luxury cars

Much has been written about China's growing obsession with the internet but a new report released this week has shed a little more light on just what is capturing the attention of the Chinese public when they log on.

The second annual Prestige 100: China IQ seeks to measure the "digital footprint of 100 luxury brands" in China and the report has no doubt captured the attention of the companies - and consumers - across the globe, with estimates that by 2020 China will become the world's largest market for luxury goods.

Befitting the world's largest car market, no fewer than seven luxury motoring brands made their way into the top 10, led by the brand the survey found to be the most popular, Audi.

The German carmaker was joined by BMW (third), Volvo (fourth), Cadillac (joint sixth), Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz (joint eighth) and Porsche (10th). Rounding out the top 10 were fashion label Burberry (second), and Benefit Cosmetics (fifth) and Estee Lauder (tied for sixth with Cadillac).

It appears as though China's brand obsessions are not that dissimilar to the rest of the globe either, as a similar survey released in June by the same group charted the "Facebook IQ" of the world's luxury brands and ranked BMW as number one, Audi at three and Lexus at four. That survey was also cosmetics-heavy with Clinique ranked second, Bare Escentuals five, Benefit six and Bobbi Brown seven. Facebook is not available across mainland China.

The report also found that more than 50 percent of Chinese internet purchases were made abroad, and that those beauty and cosmetics brands had the highest e-commerce penetration of all luxury brands, with 11 out of the 15 brands ranked by the survey selling products online.

One interesting trend noted was the fact that now fully two thirds of China's estimated 485 million netizens logged on via their mobile devises - but just 25 percent of brands currently maintained a "mobile optimized site."

Prestige 100: China IQ is a study conceived by New York University Stern Professor Scott Galloway along with Doug Guthrie, from GW's School of Business and China and a panel from the L2 digital innovation think tank. Brands are ranked in terms of site, digital marketing, social media and mobile access.

China's favorite brands:

1. Audi
2. Burberry
3. BMW
4. Volvo
5. Benefit Cosmetics
6. Cadillac, Estee Lauder (tied)
8. Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz (tied)
10. Porsche.

MS

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