The characteristics of the clothing market in China
The big Chinese population makes a huge clothing market. Because of the sustaining rise of the costs (material, transport…), the appreciation of RMB, the slowdown of demand in the domestic and international market, and other reasons.
China Apparel is a Brand Market
In the Chinese clothing industry, the brands in the market can be separated into two different camps according to the consumption structure. The first camp is the high-grade clothing brands. The consumer for this part is the high-income group, they are interested in luxury and they have the ability to buy it, and they have more emphasis on apparel quality and the service. The second camp is the brands for the public following the mass line, such as Uniqlo, ZARA, H&M, which are fashionable and not expensive, they are popular especially for the young consumers.
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In China, Branding is Everything
Local brands VS foreign brands
In the current market, Chinese brands take the leading position in the mass-market segment. Nevertheless, the high-end market is almost entirely occupied by foreign brands, especially French, Italian, American, German, Japanese, etc. Previously, the large shopping malls like in the big cities mainly sell local brands, but with the increase of their positioning and also the influence of the entering of many foreign brands in the Chinese market, many local brands are forced to exit the market of the big cities and moved to the second and third cities.
Right Positioning in China for international Brand is High End
Buying online has become an essential channel for the clothing market
There are several channels of the sale in China, among them, the first channel is the shopping malls (69%) and the second is brand monopolized shops (42%). Most of the sales by these two channels are the clothes of high end or mid-range.
Explosion of E-Commerce in China
Since 2009, the e-commerce of clothing is increasing year by year. In all online shops, clothing occupies 1 /3. In 2017, the sale amount has already reached 605 billion RMB, a +49.9 % increase. The three most popular e-commerce websites for clothing are Taobao & Tmall, Jingdong VIP, and secco. And 70 % to 80 % of e-consumers say that they think more about the design than the brands.
Tmall & Taobao :
more information about the Chinese e-commerce websites here
Basically, if you want to enter Tmall or Tmall Global
- You need to Apply, Tmall is selective and only accept Well know Brands
- After you have to give a Deposit
- Then you can set up your Stores, and your page
- After, you need to manage your Store, animate your page like your own website
- You need to reply to questions of clients (or future Clients)
- And Attract Traffic, via Advertising or Influencers;
Taobao is for small brands, and individuals.
Taobao costs less and is seeing by the Chinese as more amateur, less professional compared to Tmall.
Cloths sold on Taobao are also usually cheaper.
WeChat is offering new E-Commerce Solution
You can use Advertising or Community management, a kind of Group Sharing.
WeChat Store & Youzan
Create your store on WeChat and sell via your community. If you do not have the community, build it first then sell.
WeChat ECommerce Mini Programs
With this new function, WeChat wants to integrate all Apps in the WeChat ECosystem and invite every App to create a Mini App on WeChat to avoid Apple Stores.
E-Commerce via this Mini App can be the future.
Little Red Book (aka RED)
this Chinese Super App is like Instagram. It offers great opportunities for Clothing Brands
4/ Sell via E-Commerce new platform
All the communication of Little Red Book is based on Influencers.
Examples of KOL (Influencers) on Little Red Book.
How to market a clothing brand in China
1, good positioning is the basis of marketing
Differentiation is a key success factor for the competition that is already very strong in the Chinese clothing market, and good positioning is the first step in the differentiation competitive strategy. The company can set the target heart and decide the marketing and the communication strategy only after the definition of an identified and distinguished position.
For example, the brand Zara, a Spanish brand, has set itself as a medium-end brand in China, the heart of the target are girls who just start work, so the clothes of Zara are a bit more formal than the other brands for youth, and the price is not very expensive because wages for new workers are not very high.
VIP & Secoo the new challengers
2 players are getting market Shares VIP and Secoo. they are Fashion Websites, that sell products with discounts. They create a community of fashion lovers and want to provide the best of Fashion to their community.
They accept mainly Brands with good awareness, easy to sell, Make Deals with Promotions on new (or Old) collections.
There are not good channels for Marketing.
2 Invest in Digital Marketing, not old fashion Advertising.
Digital is very important in Chinese society nowadays
E-marketing is effective and important for the reputation, image, and business of a brand. There are also some strategies for Digital in China.
Take advantage of interactive websites or forums
In China, there are some interactive websites specifically for girls fashion, for example, Meilishuo, Mogujie, 55BBS, etc., and some forums such as Douban, Tianya, in which the girls share their favorite things, most of which are clothing. In addition, they also like to surf these sites and find beautiful clothes. So it’s a good way to make the promotion of the brands.
KOL helps with brand awareness
KOL (Key opinion leader ) or influencers are Popular in China.
Many brands of clothing invite stars as their ambassador, especially the brands for young people. Generally, we can remember the brand if the ambassador is the famous star we know well, and the possibility to purchase is greater. In addition, online brand communication can also take advantage of the online reputation of these stars.
For example, the Chinese clothing brand Metersbonwe invites Jay Chou, who is a pop star who has millions of fans in China. Jay brought about 30 % growth for Metersbonwe in that year.
Communication through Chinese Social Media
Advertise online is a tool effective, economical, and capable of touching a wide range of audiences. In addition to the advertising in video sites, another way which is also the hottest right now is Micro-blogging marketing.
Weibo The Buzz Place & New trends
A good example that gives me the deepest impression of micro-blogging marketing is ” NPC “, which is a brand of fashion. The founder, LI Chen, is a popular TV presenter in China. He promotes mostly his products and stores on Sina Weibo by using his popularity and support of his relationships who also star with many followers, his Weibo page has become the best tool of communication. This brand is very popular nowadays, especially among young people.
New Challenging Social Media : LIttle Red Book & Toutiao
These 2 new social media are taking market share in this Fashion industry. They are more popular among young targets and a good place to create Buzz and work on Reputation.
See LittleRedbook Agency
WeChat, the place to be
WeChat is the place to be, but super competitive in 2018. Visibility costs a lot and it is difficult to engage people on your account. the cost of followers breaks a record of 80rmb per (real) Follower. It is complicated to Market a product on WeChat with an important budget for influencers, Advertising, or community management. O2O is the cost-effective way, but suppose to have retail networks or own Stores and activate the connexion.
Enlarge your Distribution networks
You have to develop your Distribution in China and multiplicate the contact point with Chinese clients.
Easy to say, but hard to do.
The first step is branding. Yes, you have to invest in your branding first, then you can easier develop your Distribution.
- Can be Wholesellers Distributors
- Retailler, small Shops
- Online DIstributors or Personal Shoppers
We can help you with this part, we have solutions.
Do you Need a Smart Marketing Agency to Market your Clothing Brand in China?
- Digital: We know that Digital is the key for Fashion Brands in China.
- Mix: We are a Mix between Chinese & International Agency, kind of Hybrid, based in Shanghai.
- Performance: Our mission is to help International Brands to Get Results in China. We advise, and realize Marketing campaign to create awareness, work on Reputation and develop Sales (E-Commerce or Retails )
- Cost Effective: We provide cost-effective Solution, we can adapt to startup Budget (do not worry) and always search to optimize Marketing Budget for our clients. We try to have the Cost-Efficient attitude.
- Expert: We already have great Case studies for Fashion & Clothing Brands to China: Brands Starting from scratch or already there and want to move to the next level.
Contact us to get our Case studies, speak to our Fashion Consultant, and get a Quote.
We can work with totally new Brands in China, leverage sales for medium Brands, and do some specific action with Top Fashion Brands.