Could niche luxury retailers compete with luxury heavyweights such as Louis Vuitton and Burberry in China’s crowded luxury market?
The Italian luxury label Piazza Sempione hopes to. The company enters China hoping to attract China’s discerning luxury consumers.
The company plans to capitalize “on changing consumer tastes: There are a growing number of Chinese who want to buy expensive niche brands rather than purchase luxury labels consumed by a less sophisticated, more mass segment of Mainland shoppers,” according to the company’s chief executive officer Enrico Morra.
“The Chinese consumer is evolving so much,” Morra said. “Ten years ago [Piazza Sempione] would have been too quiet. They only wanted the branded luxury goods.” He believes now there is opportunity because Chinese women are more sophisticated and “don’t want to stand out yet want to look amazing all day long.”
The Italian label opened its first store on the Mainland in Beijing’s Shin Kong Place shopping center in April, and its second store at Citic Square, a high-end shopping mall in Shanghai, this September. It plans to open 10 more stores in China over the next three years in luxury hubs like Hangzhou, a city outside of Shanghai, and Chengdu.
Piazza Sempione officially marked its China entry with a fashion show and cocktail reception this past Monday in Citic Square.
Not unlike other luxury retailers, Piazza Sempione is planning a digital campaign, e-commerce, and partnering with local celebrities to raise awareness of the brand.
Additionally, special events in second- and third-tier cities will be part of a its strategy to reach consumers who are looking for luxury beyond the big-name brands.
The company is patient, fully understanding that it will take time for its strategy to play out in China.
Currently, the United States is its strongest market, accounting for 55 percent of sales, followed by Italy. Morrea expects China to account for 10 percent of the brand’s global sales in the next two years.
photo credit: piazza sempione