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Tue 21 Oct 2008 11:22 AM

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UAE's luxury brands shopping list revealed

Gucci, Christian Dior and Calvin Klein top list of favourites, according to new survey.

More than anywhere else in the world, UAE consumers believe that designer brands are of higher quality than standard products, and Calvin Klein, Christian Dior and Gucci are their favourites, a new survey reveals.

According to the 51-country Global Luxury Brands survey by market research firm Nielsen, 43 percent of UAE shoppers think luxury brands provide significantly higher quality than other products.

Three in five (59 percent) of those surveyed said they wear designer brands to project social status.

And if money was no object, Chanel and Louis Vuitton were the brands most people would buy, the survey shows.

“The rapid economic growth and new wealth of this country is best demonstrated by consumers’ insatiable appetite for luxury designer brands,” said Piyush Mathur, managing director of UAE, North Africa and Pakistan for the Nielsen Company.

“Consumers here are willing to pay high prices for quality products that they believe will provide instant social status.”

The survey results come just prior to the opening of the Gulf's largest collection of haute couture at the soon-to-open Dubai Mall.

A total of 70 signature stores will be part of Fashion Avenue including Chanel, Gucci, Armani, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Ralph Lauren when the mall opens on October 30.

One in three (31 percent) UAE consumers said they currently buy designer brands, and they are the world’s biggest fans of Christian Dior, Givenchy and Fendi.

“As the future survival of leading fashion houses depends on brand longevity, it is no surprise that the world’s leading names in luxury have flocked to open stores, restaurants and hotels in the UAE in recent years,” Mathur said.

UAE shoppers ranked second globally as the biggest fans and purchasers of Gucci (31 percent) and Chanel (21 percent), and third globally for Giorgio Armani (19 percent).

While only seven percent of UAE consumers claim to currently buy Louis Vuitton, if money were no option the brand would be top of the list for 21 percent of UAE consumers.

Similarly, while one in four (21 percent) of UAE consumers currently buy Chanel, if price were not a concern 30 percent said they would buy the brand.

The survey also unveiled untapped potential for luxury fashion brands in UAE to expand their apparel business into other products such as mobile phones, laptops, flat screen televisions, MP3 players and even kitchen appliances.

“Our survey tells us UAE consumers certainly don’t believe that luxury brands should be restricted to apparel only and there are many retail opportunities savvy marketers can take advantage of,” Mathur said.

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