In September, our Perino team was in China for SpinExpo China, a world renowned textile trade show. It was inspiring to learn more about China’s luxury market and how Perino can provide our unique yarns to luxury designers in China. The luxury goods industry in China has evolved over recent years, as the median household income in China increases. Luxury spend overall is continuing to climb although not so much in the mainland of China. The Chinese wealthy expenditure on luxury product is highest when they travel internationally, challenging the way luxury goods are marketed to Chinese consumers. Consumers have high expectations of customer service, brand experience and quality. Perino yarns have unique benefits for the Chinese luxury market, catering to brands wanting to present something unique and exciting to their customers.
SpinExpo Shanghai was yet again an important event on the Perino annual agenda. With over 10,000 visitors to the three day event, it is an incredible opportunity to show Perino to fashion buyers and designers from around the world. The majority of visitors to the booth were from China (8,896) followed by Hong Kong (564) and Korea (567). After three years of exhibiting at this event, it was wonderful to meet new faces and greet contacts from previous years. We joined over 200 other internationally recognised manufacturers exhibiting including spinners and fibre producers from 15 different countries. Meeting with customers throughout China has been incredibly inspirational, particularly seeing the high caliber finish of Perino yarns from knitting manufacturers and their confidence in Perino for the Chinese luxury market.
What is luxury to the Chinese consumer?
Like the European market, luxury goods to Chinese consumers include designer handbags, fashion, jewellery and watches. Well known European and American luxury brands including Gucci, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Coach, Bulgari are joined by Chinese luxury jewelry brands such as Chow Tai Fook, Chow Sang Sang as the most popular luxury products to buy. Consuming luxury brands enables the buyer to show their ‘social status’ and is a marker of success.
An expectation of personalised experience has altered the landscape for mainland Chinese luxury stores. Wealth is increasing amongst Chinese nationals and luxury spending by this sector continues to increase. However, this spend is growing outside of mainland China. While on overseas trips, wealthy Chinese tourists are spending on big ticket items, making the most of exchange rates and international shopping experiences. Another change is the loyalty to a group of core brands that Chinese consumers identify with, with brands making this list due to experience by the consumer and by others sharing on social media. Healthy living and good value for money is important to Chinese luxury consumers, as is entertainment. Therefore, brands that are ticking these boxes will gain trust and spend from consumers.
- Niche brands and bespoke goods are a high priority
- Refined, high quality products with a strong brand story
- A thirst for newness and uniqueness as China becomes more integrated in global fashion trends
- Accessible digitally on Chinese social media platforms
- Lifestyle is important, encouraging entertainment and experience from brands
- Foreign travel and shopping while overseas
- Strong links between online store and bricks and mortar – experience and vibe consistent
- Offline events – membership parties, new product releases
- Chinese luxury consumers want the best for their custom
Why is Perino a fit for Chinese Luxury?
The properties and background story of Perino yarns in earlier blog posts such as “Is Perino the new cashmere?” And “Progress for Possum Standards”, has laid out a lot of information for prospective buyers. But how can Perino yarns fit into the Chinese luxury market? Luxury consumers want something innovative, different and new – something decadent and made of high quality. Perino yarns with the New Zealand Brushtail Possum component add a point of difference exclusive to New Zealand, and are engineered for high quality, luxury apparel and knitwear For designers, using bespoke and luxurious yarns aligns with the exclusivity and selective nature of the Chinese luxury market.
In New Zealand, Brushtail Possum and Merino blended yarns have been very popular with our domestic and tourist consumers, especially with the top-end, luxury segment of this market. In the past year there were over 400,000 visitors to New Zealand from China, staying on average 18 days per stay. Based on the positive response to Possum blends from Chinese tourists, presenting the Chinese luxury fashion market with our refined blends in the Perino Collection opens an exciting opportunity for a broader reach.
How can technology and social media effect Chinese luxury market
China has extensive firewalls prohibiting some websites outside of China. As a result, China has their own social media platforms such as Weibo and WeChat that are used instead of internationally used platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Social media platform WeChat is a valuable business and marketing tool to present products and services to customers. Lifestyle and fashion influencers have become leaders for consumers, using social media platforms to act as assistants, stylists, models and personal shoppers in an approachable way for consumers. They build trust and integrity by sharing a lot about their lives; where they travel, health regimes, relationships and luxury purchases. Luxury brands work with influencers to appeal to their followers. The trust the consumers have for the influencer then flows through to trust for the brands they promote. This form of marketing is expensive but effective by directly targeting specific consumers.
WeChat is China’s most far reaching social media and lifestyle app. The WeChat facts and figures below are taken from a recent cnbc.com article, with sources from a Meekers report as well as information provided by WeChat’s founding company Tencent. This information proves the sheer volume of WeChat users and significance for using the platform as a tool when marketing to the Chinese market.
-WeChat takes up approximately 29% of time spent on mobile apps in China.
-WeChat has 938 million monthly users, close to Facebook Messengers 1.2 billion users.
-60% of WeChat users are aged between 16-29 years old.
-The average time spent on WeChat is now 66 minutes per day.
The travelling wealthy of China
Wealthy Chinese have 5.9 international trips per year on average. When travelling, these consumers seek global luxury brand experiences with consistent service and accessibility to the full product range as well as limited edition products. A substantial amount of Chinese spending is not done in China. 30% of spend for Chinese families that travel was outside of China. This is a particular challenge for luxury brands wanting to engage with the Chinese consumer. Brands may need to adapt their sales and marketing tactics to engage Chinese consumers when they are outside of China.
One of the reasons for Chinese consumers spending their money on luxury items overseas is the product pricing. Import taxes are very high in China, making it less expensive to buy these items from their originating country. China also has a large counterfeiting market with 70% of the world’s seized counterfeited products originating in China. The Chinese buying luxury goods therefore take care to ensure their products are authentic and of the highest quality. Trust in the brand they are purchasing from is important, especially when bringing gifts back home.
Perino for Chinese Luxury Market
Through our growing understanding of Chinese luxury consumption and experience with our highly skilled and knowledgeable contacts in China, we are confident that Perino yarns are a perfect fit for the Chinese luxury market. This includes both brands selling inside China as well as those seeking Chinese custom outside of mainland China. For more information about our Perino collection please get in touch with our team.
Click the link to learn about the top 10 luxury brands in China in 2017.
Listen to the McKinsey Podcast on the topic of “What’s driving the Chinese consumer?”. They discuss physical vs. E-commerce retail, focus on lifestyle and entertainment as wealth increases and an increase of premium products being purchased instead of mass market.
View the full Mary Meeker presentation on the state of the internet in 2017, covering topics including China’s use of the internet as well as gaming, India’s growing economy and media disruption. Mary Meeker is a partner at venture capital firm Kliener Perkins.
Business of Fashion speaks to Chinese travellers in and around London’s luxury shopping spots about their budgets, how often they go shopping overseas and what brands they will be looking for on their trip.