The luxury market is, since the economic opening of China, very flourishing in the country. It is even one of the few countries in which this industry was dynamic, even in times of global economic crisis. But the Chinese are still spending lavishly, especially when it comes to fashion. Indeed, in Chinese society, the image is of great importance. Rich Chinese people love to be on the cutting edge and boast about their latest purchases at dazzling prices. They therefore particularly enjoy browsing the designer and high end couture boutiques to find original pieces. The purchase of so-called “streetwear” style pieces is 4 times more numerous in China than elsewhere. Its growth exceeds 60% per year.
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Collaboration between Luxury brand and Streetwear brand
A new world trend has taken hold of fashion in the past years, that of streetwear. It struggled to make its place in China. However, this fashion is gaining more and more importance, including in the luxury industry! While some brands want to stay true to their fashion roots (this is the case of Chanel and Dior for example), other major brands have made the choice to adapt to the current trend. This is the case of Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga, who chose to offer trendy pieces while keeping the quality and the price of a luxury brand. The collaborations between these brands and streetwear brands are more and more common: Louis Vuitton and Supreme, Alexander Wang and Adidas, Jimmy Choo and Off-White, Rimowa and Supreme … They prove the rise of this style, that was previously only worn by the lowest social classes and now by the biggest fashionistas and influencers. Yet it is a complicated exercise for these brands who are not accustomed to the “fast fashion” and who may offend their image.
While in the West, the average age of consumers of luxury goods is around 45, this average is far from similar in China. The target audience can be much larger, even reach young people. Indeed, Chinese millennials are the best clientele for luxury brands with a streetwear style. They are numerous (more than 400 million), they have a strong purchasing power thanks to their family who pampers them (many unique children) and they are looking for a way to express their personality. Indeed, they dare many more things than their parents in their day. Young people today seek to distinguish themselves from others and display a sense of fashion that represents them. That’s why streetwear is so popular. They are also more open to trying different styles, daring surprising combinations, mixing trends and blurring the codes of fashion.
Where does this interest come from?
Young Chinese people spend a lot of time on social networks following the daily lives of their favorite celebrities. They can be actors, singers, or simply bloggers. They are called KOL (Key Opinion Leader) because of the great influence they have on their fans. With the more personal exposure of stars (through social networks or paparazzi), fans can see how their idols dress in everyday life, not only on the red carpet. More and more Chinese celebrities have adopted a more Western style through their travels and their knowledge of fashion. By sharing their tastes, they make thousands of Chinese want to look like them. For example, there are Liu Wen and Ju Xiaowen, two very influential Chinese models who gather together more than 4.5 million subscribers. Many TV shows have also generated the interest of Chinese street culture in general (which includes streetwear): The Rap of China, Street Dance of China, Hot Blood Dance Crew…
How to conquer this market?
The Chinese are very connected and it shows in their way of consuming. E-commerce has become a habit of consumption. Tmall and JD are the two biggest platforms in the country. They control over ¾ of the e-commerce market in China, so it is advisable to go through these platforms to sell your products rather than relying on your standalone site.
- A presence on Chinese networks
In a country where social networks are so important, it is essential to adapt to their networks. Indeed, Google and our social networks are censored, so we must learn about their own and create WeChat and Weibo accounts. This will allow you to build a community, which is very appreciated by consumers of niche products. You also need a site in Chinese well referenced on Baidu.
- The KOLs
One of the most effective marketing techniques in China is that of partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). By this term, it is necessary to think of Chinese personalities having a strong influence on their broad community of fans. Especially thanks to social networks! If some KOLs recommend your brand on their account, you are assured of having a huge visibility, but also a huge added value which is that of the influence of the celebrity on its subscribers, which will make every fan wanting to buy the same product.
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