Some big-name luxury brands may be down, but others — niche luxury brands — are on the way up in China.
Red flags went up when Louis Vuitton sales started to lag. However, Givenchy – LVMH’s lesser-known brand famous for dressing Audrey Hepburn – is picking up steam in the meantime, says China Daily. The brand opened its newest store in China in March. As Chinese shoppers tire of the same old brands and growth lags, niche brands are stepping in to liven things up.
Pucci, the high-end Italian women’s label, opened its first store on the Mainland last year, at the same time Stella McCartney came to Shanghai. Even Alberta Ferretti is testing out the waters, opening a location for its Philosophy brand in Hangzhou.
Others are hoping the Internet will entice Chinese shoppers to try new brands. One of the most popular online luxury retailers in China, Shangpin.com, signed an agreement with the Fashion Council of America in March that will get Chinese shoppers access to U.S. products. “We want to help designers gain popularity in China and meet the growing demands of our consumers by offering the world’s leading fashions,” said Lang Xueyue, Shangpin’s VP.
Representatives from Chinese online retailer Fifth Avenue Globe says niche brands accounted for half of its sales in 2012, up from 20-30 percent the previous year.
Niche brands are still too new to the country for their full effect to be felt, and in the meantime some more prominent brands are posting good figures. Bottega Veneta grew 41.5 percent year-on-year in China in 2012. And China is now Yves Saint Laurent’s third-largest market.
Zhou Ting, director of the Fortune Character Research Center, said, “The market will enjoy healthy development, with many choices for consumers.” She also said that it will be more difficult for luxury brands to earn money from China’s market in the future, although China will still lead global growth.
photo credit: pucci