FDP Consumer Behavior and International marketing – Marketing Research Paper (400 Level Course)
Louis Vuitton is an excellent example of having brand loyalty in a global market. Louis Vuitton is a staple product for those that can afford it. It became a staple product because of its customer service and product guarantee. A Louis Vuitton bag is supposed to last longer than the owner’s life time. When a Louis Vuitton bag becomes damaged it is replaced or fixed for free without questions or hassles.
I have been intrigued by the buying of fake Louis Vuitton items and other designer items on this voyage. I have been following the consumer loyalty to fake Louis Vuitton items and other designer products throughout our voyage.
In Japan there were no fake purses, shoes, wallets, or sunglasses to be found. There were large extensive markets and malls but there were no booths with racks of fake purses, shoes, watches, wallets, or sunglasses. In our port of call, Kobe, there were large Louis Vuitton, Channel, and Gucci stores but the prices were double those of the stores in the United States and Europe because of the tax on imported goods. I was very surprised by the lack of fake merchandise in Japan’s markets. The lack of fake merchandise made it seem as if the Japanese were above buying into the market of contraband. They only had real items; it seemed to be decision based on economic and prestige-driven cultural values. In Japan if you can afford to buy a designer bag then you do it. The Japenese do not buy fake merchandise. I did not observe any Japanese with fake Louis Vuitton items. I did not observe any students with new Louis Vuitton bags after Japan. I wondered if the price was a deterrent or the lack of fake items was the reason. My observations lead me to believe it was the lack of fake items was the reason they were not purchased. In International Marketing, we discussed how the Chinese were great copiers of business and would copy your business down to the last detail and open up a shop right next to yours.
Well, the Chinese are not just great copiers they are the best copiers of fake designer merchandise. I followed my Louis Vuitton habit through the markets in Shanghai and in Bejing. Wow! The craftsmanship was amazing. I found fake Louis Vuitton’s, Prada, Gucci, Channel, and others that were identical to the real ones. The only difference was the fact that they did not have serial numbers in them. They had the correct color scheme, logo, stitching, weight, texture, zippers, and clasps. I also found many bad copies. Yet, I have not found a large loyal customer following to real Louis Vuitton items on the ship. After China, I saw many people on the ship with new Louis Vuitton bags that were obviously not real. The LV logos were put on seams, the colors were off, zippers were not Louis Zippers, had different flowers, were not made of real leather and displayed other small details that prove purses to be fake. I started to wonder if these fake purses were hurtful to Louis Vuitton or brand recognition for consumers.
I decided no. I do not think that Louis Vuitton is suffering economically from the fake purses or worried about their existence in the market. The average Louis Vuitton purse cost above seven hundred dollars ($700). The average fake on the market was ($40) forty dollars and a very good fake was more than a hundred dollars ($100). A consumer who is willing to pay forty ($40) dollars for a fake purse is not the consumer Louis Vuitton is targeting in its market segments.