China’s retail industry continues to grow and, as a matter of fact, has fueled its economy significantly in the past couple of years during some very challenging times. We wouldn’t call it a resurgence, as the Chinese market has long been a force to reckon with, but this growth is largely influenced by the digitalization of the country and the affinity of its consumers with the internet.
A certain category that’s been booming is the Chinese fashion industry and especially in Chinese menswear. This niche has got very promising potential if you would like to invest in it, but a successful category means a very competitive space. Here’s a comprehensive guide you might find useful about China’s menswear.
The Chinese Men’s Fashion Market
The apparel industry is undoubtedly one of the main pillars of the Chinese economy. Did you know that as of 2021 the men’s fashion category alone garnered over $104 million in earnings?
That’s how strong this category is, and that’s how conscious Chinese men are about their fashion sense. It’s said that the increase in the minimum wage has brought about unprecedented purchasing power for consumers and this has helped the cause of brands.
Apart from paying attention to their looks and the increased purchasing power, it’s the country’s digitalization that has contributed largely to the rapid growth of China’s fashion or apparel industry.
China’s apparel market is expected to grow up to $600 million by 2025, and as a foreign investor, business owner, or brand on the outside looking in, these are the times that you should start to make your move or expand your market share.
Chinese Men’s Fashion Market Trends
Before we talk about how you can promote your men’s fashion brand in China, you need to make sure to get to know your target market. What’s driving all these sales in the menswear market? Will you automatically have some as a newer store or brand? Of course not. Let’s find out some of the Chinese men’s fashion market trends.
Chinese consumers have been inclined to buy outdoor jackets and coats. It also is wise to look into suits, blazers, pullovers, shirts, and most especially, the sportswear category. The underwear category is also quite competitive but, of course, also offers a ton of opportunities for brands and businesses.
An Open-Minded Generation of Chinese Men
Let’s face it, China has got one of the strictest cultures in the world but that won’t stop its population from embracing a new fashion sense through the years. The younger generation today is quite experimental and that shows in their dress code where the distinction between male and female apparel categories is often blurred.
Consumers today also do not have a fixed idea of what’s in and what’s out. So, anything may sell at any given time. The key is in your marketing and how fast you can adapt based on the current fad. It’s also important to take note that Chinese men are big on foreign brands but also remember that domestic products have a stable position in the market space.
A New Fashion Trend
Remember Yuppies? Well, just a decade or so ago, yuppies, or young urban employees, were always seen wearing business casual attire or suits. That’s no longer the case today, at least for most of the time.
Yuppies today, especially men, wear more casual attire and love to mix and match and experiment with their masculinity through clothes. This is especially true because of the prevalence of people working from home. Men today in China are just more creative with what they wear, looking for new ways to express themselves, no matter the price. They may wear tight jeans with blazers and sport the latest Nike shoes.
This brings us to a hot topic in Chinese men’s fashion today – street fashion. With the popularity of Douyin today, which is the Chinese TikTok, this brand of fashion has gone viral and is completely a sales driver.
So, always be on the lookout for influencer-driven marketing as well as short video content because these marketing strategies are here to stay.
How To Promote and Sell Your Men’s Fashion Brand in China
So, how do you get a share of a market that’s already been saturated by top brands, domestic and foreign? Please take note that domestic brands will be less expensive than yours, or at least that’s the norm since they have fewer operational costs. As a foreign brand, you need to work twice or thrice as hard to have a winning strategy.
There’s also the option to have both a domestic and foreign presence to have a better chance in the industry. It will be costly for you but it’s definitely a high-risk high-reward deal.
The best piece of advice that you’re going to get if you want to grow your brand or business in the Chinese market is to build an online presence. But, we have an entirely different section for that later. Let’s first talk about why the Chinese consumer would still want to buy from brick-and-mortar shops or offline.
The top five reasons would be:
- That the consumer still wants to feel, touch, and try on clothing.
- That the consumers may ascertain the quality as well as the authenticity of the product/brand they are about to buy.
- That the consumers won’t have to wait for the clothing to be delivered.
- That consumers still enjoy walking to the shop or store.
- That consumers find it easier to look for what they want if shopping is done in person.
Selling your men’s clothing offline is still quite an effective way to attract your customers, but let’s move on and talk about selling online.
Menswear Is Going Online in China: Ecommerce and Digital Marketing
There’s no doubt about it, an e-commerce platform is a must-have for any retail business in China today. We’re not only talking about the fashion, apparel, or men’s clothing industry but every category there is. You’ll be left behind if you don’t, and this is especially true if you are a foreign business wanting to operate in the country.
It’s obvious why people would want to buy online instead of going to physical shops. It’s more convenient, and safer, and the choices are vast. The online world offers a ton of choices for consumers and that’s especially true when it comes to fashion brands, luxury or not. It’s noteworthy that Chinese consumers are willing to pay if the product is worth it, especially if it’s popular, established, and trusted.
China has had a digital revolution in the past couple of decades and today, the citizens use the internet for anything that they do, from purchasing their underwear to paying for cab fares. It’s prudent to take advantage of that fact, especially for businesses that are looking to operate offshore.
Promote your men’s fashion brand on the Chinese internet
Before entering the Chinese e-commerce platform, every brand entering in China and wanting to connect with the Chinese audience needs to build an online presence first, with good branding and e-reputation.
Get started with a Chinese Website to enhance your Baidu SEO
A website in Mandarin Chinese is the first thing you need. This will allow Baidu SEO to work and, most importantly, it will show that you’re a genuine brand. It is strongly recommended that you create a Chinese-optimized version of your website. You don’t want slow websites because you use google plugins. Baidu also favors websites hosted in Mainland China, so you will get a chance to rank higher.
Baidu is a great way to get into the Chinese market. Chinese consumers will search to it find your brand. You won’t get much traffic if you aren’t visible on the first pages. Baidu’s SEO should be as important as setting up an e-commerce website. GMA is specialized expertise that can help you accomplish this task quickly and efficiently. Many companies have been able to increase their rank on Baidu and gain more traffic and clients.
Your website should also follow the UX standards that Chinese netizens are familiar with. You can offer live chat or a QR code that is easy to locate to direct visitors to your social media. Customers will shop online more if your shopping site is more user-friendly.
Chinese Social Media will help you gain good e-reputation
WeChat, China’s most used social media app, has more than 1.26 billion users as of 2022. Marketers have a great opportunity to reach consumers through WeChat. WeChat marketing is a great way to engage consumers with content, promotions, and offers.
The biggest Chinese social media, but not the best place to build a large following. Wechat is best when it comes to nurturing an already existing contact base through its many tools. However, WeChat can’t be ignored, a brand not present on Wechat, won’t look legit to Chinese consumers.
Additionally, WeChat offers many benefits, that brands can leverage in different ways. You can start an Official Account, to inform your followers about any news. You can also create your own WeChat Store, WeChat brochure, WeChat short-videos platform account, and more.
Weibo is the perfect place to post quality content like photos and videos of your campaign. This social media will allow you to build up an image for yourself by posting qualitative material, which also maximizes exposure while staying in touch with communities online!
Use the many marketing tools that the platform offers to engage with your target audience. Paid ads on Weibo have two main formats: Paid Ads and Kols Collaboration. The first is a paid advertisement that you can place in order to promote your company or product, while the latter involves collaborating with other users for sponsored content through a specially designated hashtag campaign (#). While both these strategies work well enough by themselves; together they create an even more powerful effect!
Little Red Book and Douyin
These two are new platforms that gained impressive popularity in the past few years and became a source of inspiration and information for many of your Chinese consumers, especially Millennials and Gen Z. Nowadays they are actually becoming more popular than Weibo, dictating the sales trends for the upcoming years.
Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu) is an app that is based mainly on user-generated content. Users can follow their friends or favorite influencers to get some reviews and product recommendations. Little Red Book also has its own built-in online marketplace, which is very useful in terms of product promotion, as you can put links to products in your posts or during live streaming sessions.
Douyin is a short-video app, it’s the mother app of Tik Tok that is also very popular in the West. Similar to Little Red Book, Douyin also has its own online marketplace, making it convenient to shop without leaving the app.
KOLs & KOCs Marketing
Key Opinion Leaders, also known as KOLs or Key Opinion Consumers (KOC), are key assets that reach large communities and keep them. Although it may seem difficult to find the right KOL, it is essential if you are going to attract and target your customers. You can rest assured that your marketing strategy will succeed if you find the right KOL in a community that shares your company values.
Chinese customers are more sensitive than other customers to customer feedback when purchasing an item. To reassure and seduce your customer targets, you should share as much information as possible about your product with the KOL you have chosen. This will allow them to present your product to their followers.
We recommend that you hire a professional agency to help you select trustworthy and wholesome KOLs. A KOLs agency will have a network with KOLs they trust and they also conduct background checks to assess the risk of these KOLS. Agents are able to offer these services at the most competitive prices and guarantee quick campaign launches because they work with the KOLs on a regular basis.
Sell your Menswear brand online in China
Get to know the largest e-commerce platforms in the country today. Familiarize yourself with Tmall, Tmall Global, JD.com, and Taobao. These platforms will be key to your success.
Tmall is the perfect e-commerce marketplace for anyone who wants to sell men’s fashion products. The menswear category on JD.com is also growing faster than before. Lastly, Taobao may just be your entryway into the industry if you have a smaller brand. Great things do start with a small beginning, right?
Most definitely, the digital landscape is your gateway to the Chinese men’s fashion industry. If you’re going to build strategies, then build them around the e-commerce space. It’s your best shot at success.
Is Tmall a good eCommerce platform to sell menswear?
The short answer is yes. Tmall is the most popular e-commerce platform in China and it has a large base of potential buyers.
Tmall is a good platform to sell menswear because it is specifically designed for brands to sell products directly to consumers. Tmall provides a wide range of features and services that make it easy for brands to create a successful online store, including marketing support, payment processing, and order fulfillment.
Second, Tmall has a rigorous authentication process for businesses that want to sell on the platform, so you can be confident that your products will be promoted to and sold by only the most qualified buyers.
JD.com is another great eCommerce to sell menswear in China
JD.com is one of the world’s leading e-commerce platforms with a reach of more than 400 million active users. By selling on JD.com, you’ll gain access to this massive user base and be able to reach a larger audience than ever before.
JDcom also offers a wide range of features that are perfect for online sellers. You’ll be able to take advantage of features such as JDpay, which allows customers to pay for items with their bank account, credit card, or WeChat Wallet. You’ll also have access to JD Collection, which is a program that helps sellers track their products and shipments in real time.
Just like Tmall, JD has a cross-border version that allows brands that are not registered in China to sell to Chinese consumers.
Chinese Online Marketplace for Smaller Budget
- Taobao: China’s biggest eCommerce app. Any brand registered in China can sell on the app, as the requirements to sell on the app are not too high and the fees are affordable. Taobao offers social tools such as live streaming and an integrated customer reviews mini-app for instance.
- Pinduoduo: Alibaba’s big challengers over the last few years. The platform started as a cheap alternative to Taobao in smaller Chinese cities and conquered the whole market with its group buying offers and social eCommerce options.
Chinese Men’s Fashion: let’s wrap up
The “He-economy” is in full swing, but don’t get us wrong, the Chinese apparel industry still has not reached its full zenith and is still ripe for the taking. Take advantage of the ever-changing taste of the consumers, work on your online marketing strategies, use social media effectively, and you’ll find success in no time.
It won’t be easy but, if you get to know the culture, the platforms, and work with the right partners, who knows, you might be the next success story that they’ll talk about.
Do you need help with how to market your brand in China? Then wait no further. Contact us today!
The Chinese apparel market is the biggest in the world, and so is the appetite of Chinese consumers for foreign brands. Many companies want to get a piece of that cake, but as demonstrated in this article, is not as easy as some people might think. Without the know-how and the understanding of consumers’ behaviors in China, it will be hard for any brand to gain a presence in the Chinese market.
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