Haagen Dasz conquers the coffee market in China

In China, Haagen Dasz continues to innovate

Haagen-Dazs, the worldwide famous ice-cream brand founded in 1961 by Reuben Mattus and his wife Rose was bought 70 million dollars by the British group Philsburry, now the property of General Mills. The brand, n°1 in the US since 2007, settled in China in the late 90s and is now enjoying an unexpected success! But in a more and more competitive market, it won’t rest on its laurels.

Now targeting the coffee market

Haagen Dazs recently decided to launch a brand new range of coffee based products in its chinese stores in order to capture shares of this growing market. The launching of the “rainbow latte”, a mix of Haagen-Dazs ice-cream with Illy coffee, served in a  special designed blown glass cup mugs, is the result of years of planning. The brand is also planning to open Haagen-Dasz cafes in order to diversify beyond the ice cream market.

A strategic choice

Café Haagen-Dazs

This decision Haagen Dasz made to launch the “rainbow latte” as its first coffee offer is a key step in the brand’s strategy in China, which goal is to attract young customers in their late 20s. Even though the group qualify itself as the Rolls Royce of the ice cream market, readjusted its strategy to reunite with the chinese youth and its taste for unique experiences, which is the reflect of a sophisticating market.

The chinese coffee market

A consumption of coffee on the rise

In 2012, the average consumption of coffee per capita in China was about 47,6 grams, far lower than the South Korean and the Japanese ones, respectively at 2,1kg and 3,4kg per capita and per year. Even if the global coffee market is supposed to grow by 2% per year, in China it is expected to grow by 15% per year!

Coffee in China

Competition pressure

Even though the average consumption of coffee in china is for the moment at only one cup per person and per day, up to 5 cup per person and per day in urban areas, it is a more and more profitable market and from now on, Haagen Dasz will have to deal with serious competitors; Starbucks owns more than 1500 stores in China, the British group Costa more than 300 and the Korean brand Maan Coffee about a hundred.

Publicité chinoise Starbucks

The key for success: a well-rounded marketing strategy!

The settlement of the famous ice-cream brand in China was a real challenge since Chinese people are very price-sensitive consumers and traditionally don’t eat much dairy products. But despite those obstacles, Haagen Dasz got famous pretty fast in the empire of the middle.

  • Research and understand the chinese market:

Before launching in China, Haagen Dasz conducted a market research on the national market. If ice cream is not a very popular pruduct in China, the brand understood that a demand exists in the empire of the middle for expensive luxury western products. The brand though decided to target the wealthy consumers first, and the growing middle class looking more and more for luxury experiences.

Boutique Haagen-Dazs Chine

On another hand, if western people would enjoy eating their ice cream quietly at home, Chinese would prefer to enjoy it in a fancy cafe.

  • Repositioning the brand:

After this market research, Haagen Dasz proceeded to a re-positioning of the brand on to adapt the Chinese market, working on the image of a luxury brand. The group has been opening fancy café in hype districts where Vuitton, Cartier and Chanel shops line up. In these cafes, the products upgraded with the “Made in France” logo are sold on average 5 time their american price.

And if in the USA, the commercials are based on sensuality, it adapted in China to the local sensibility and is more oriented on luxury and romanticism. Though, the slogan here is: “If you love her, bring her to Haagen Dasz.”

Publicité romantique Haagen-Dazs

Haagen Dazs also hit strong by including to its chinese commercial strategy celebrities among which the worldwide famous chinese model and singer, Fan Bing Bing , symbol of glamorous and very influent in her country.

Fan Bing Bing pour Haagen-Dazs

  • Innovation:

In China, Haagen Dasz innovated, creating new products according to the tastes of Chinese customers. The brand developed a dedicated ice-cream range, with tea flavored ice-cream and perfume bottle shaped biscuits filled with ice-cream for Valentine day.

They also had that very smart idea in 1997 to create their own version of the Moon Cake, a traditional cake Chinese people offer to their friends and family in autumn. This product alone represents today 28% of the brand’s annual benefit on the Chinese territory.

Moon Cake Box Haagen Dazs

While the brand had to reinvent itself for China market, it did so very successfully to enter the Chinese market.

Want to know more about the must-have tools to promote a luxury brand in China? Click here.

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You can also read our Strategic Guide to Export Food Brands in China

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