An emerging market like Vietnam always promises a host of business start-up and expansion opportunities for those companies who know how to satisfy the needs of different market segments for their core products. After years of surveys and operations in Vietnam, Cartier has seen the real demand for its luxury goods and then decided to cater more to this growing segment.
Six years ago, Cartier had its name carved in Vietnam’s luxury goods market with an espace in Hanoi, and the French jewelry and watchmaker has made another milestone by debuting Cartier Boutique at the Rex Hotel because it is fully aware that now is the time to respond to increasing demand in HCMC.
First Cartier Boutique in Vietnam
Michael Guenoun, Export Director of Cartier Far East, confirmed the boutique was Cartier’s first boutique in Vietnam, as the boutique in the mid-town Rex Hotel offered a wide selection of imported products. The boutique now joins the company’s network of 280 boutiques worldwide.
In an interview with the Daily before the inauguration of the boutique at the luxury hotel, Guenoun differentiated Cartier espace and boutique that Cartier sold all of its products except jewelry in an espace while a boutique had all, from jewelry to watches and accessories imported from France and Switzerland.
“Cartier is opening the first full-fledged boutique to respond to the increasing demand of luxury goods in Vietnam, the economic development of Vietnam and more particularly of HCMC,” Guenoun said.
The major change in introduction of jewelry in Vietnam is the core product and identity of the Cartier brand, which Guenoun expected would prosper based on the combination of Cartier’s international experience and its local partners’ know-how on the market of more than 86 million consumers.
Vietnam has been recognized as a middle-income nation, and the number of high- and middle-income earners has increased rapidly in recent years. Experts said Vietnam’s population becoming more mature was creating a wealthier and savvier consumer base.
In HCMC where the first Cartier boutique is based, the local government has projected gross domestic product per capita to reach US$3,130 this year and US$4,800 by 2015 from the over US$2,800 in 2010.
Guenoun quoted a survey conducted in late 2010 by the France-based BVA Institute as saying that Vietnam topped the list of 10 most optimistic nations in the world. Days ago, Vietnamese papers and online publications carried the results of the survey at more than 50 nations.
The aforesaid indicators reveal some of the reasons for opening of the Cartier Boutique in HCMC. But, Guenoun has more to share in connection with improved standard of living and income in this country, saying that when people bought luxury goods, they not just wanted to show their social status but also a desire for good quality products and lifestyle.
“There are more Vietnamese customers who may be aware of this and want to possess luxury goods of high quality,” Guenoun said. He added with 160 years of tradition, Cartier had been the jeweler of royalties, celebrities and elites around the world.
“The trust and admiration of these people speak volumes for our inimitable style and pledge to perfection. The Cartier boutique in Vietnam will continue this tradition of true craftsmanship with our diverse offering of quality and stylish products, which will no doubt appeal to those who look for elegance and excellence,” he said.
Optimistic luxury market
Over the last years, though more luxury brands entered Vietnam and shined through the shops along lit streets and commercial centers in HCMC, Hanoi and other cities in Vietnam, the market still has much room for operational retailers to expand and new players to join.
Unreluctantly, Guenoun said the Cartier business had been running very well in Vietnam over the past years and based on this the company was looking to a successful story for the boutique in the economic hub of Vietnam.
In the past six years operating through its partner operators in Vietnam, Cartier has witnessed rapid changes in the consumption habit for luxury goods of Vietnamese people and they have become much more aware of and appreciative of luxury brands, with a higher focus on quality and craftsmanship.
“This trend posed a lot of opportunities to Cartier, not only in increasing sales of our products but also in educating the consumers about our history and tradition,” Guenoun said. “With the opening of the boutique at the Rex Hotel, we look forward to expanding our market in watches, eye-wear and accessories, and especially jewelry which is the category introduced in Vietnam for the first time.”
Vietnamese consumers’ confidence in the country’s economic performance this year and beyond is increasing after a period of time impacted by the global economic turbulence, as shown in a recent survey conducted by the market research firm TNS Vietnam.
The results indicate 68% of the TNS AP Temperature survey participants hold positive views of Vietnam’s economic prospects in 2011, when the country’s GDP is projected to grow 7-7.5% compared to around 6.78% last year.
Despite cautious optimism among Vietnamese consumers and their more requirements for producers to improve brand equity, Cartier was certainly very optimistic about the prospect of Vietnam’s luxury market. “With the rapid economic growth and the development of middle and high-income population segments, Vietnam will remain a potential market of Cartier,” Guenoun said.
Cartier plans a second boutique in Vietnam and this store would possibly be in place in Hanoi in the future. “We are very selective when opening a boutique… but we are definitely optimistic about Vietnam and this is why we have invested in the boutique in HCMC,” Guenoun said, clarifying that prime location and environment were among the important criteria for Cartier to consider before opening a boutique.
Asked about the target customers of Cartier in Vietnam, Guenoun said “Cartier provides the same quality products and services to fulfill every need of its customers in Vietnam, no matter who walks in the boutique.”
The Saigon Times Daily