London Fashion Week began on February 20th, and with Chinese accounting for nearly 30 percent of global luxury spending, British fashion houses need to look no further than Burberry for a lesson in catering to Chinese buyers.
In 2014, Chinese spent €89 billion on luxury, of which 73 percent was spent overseas, according to The Drum. Having already covered the Chinese consumers’ infatuation with “Britishness,” it is clear that the market is there for brands willing to reach out.
China now has 649 million internet users, of which 557 access the internet through a mobile device, and Chinese consumers are spending more than ever online shopping on British luxury websites. A PayPal study found that Chinese make up 25 percent of all cross-border shoppers on British luxury e-commerce sites where goods can be up to 30 percent cheaper than in China.
Many British brands, including Radley, Gieves & Hawkes, Hackett, Cath Kidston, Morgan, Mulberry, and London Luxury Quarter have entered the Chinese market, not to mention David Beckham‘s brand ambassadorships, but few have a comprehensive e-commerce strategy in China.
TopShop recently partnered with Shangpin.com to create ‘The Mobile Adventure’ for its debut in China, but Burberry is the true shining example for British brands of the power of a strong online and mobile presence in China.
Burberry launched its official Tmall store in April of last year and is among the best represented luxury brands on Chinese multi-brand retail websites. For its London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2014 fashion show early last year, Burberry teamed with WeChat to offer fans an immersive fashion experience.
Now, Burberry has teamed up with Line, a Japanese messaging and free calling app with 170 million users, to stream its London Fashion Week womenswear show on mobile devices and push exclusive content and “emoji-style stickers” to fans.
“In a society where the media or the government are not regarded as reliable champions of consumer interests, social media often has heightened influence,” Jim Whyte, a senior insights analyst at Fitch, told The Drum.
EMEA marketing director at Hootsuite Merinda Peppard echoed Whyte’s comments, adding, “China has the world’s largest e-commerce market, and thanks to the rise of local social networks there is a huge opportunity for global brands to interact with new consumers in this region.”
“In particular, brands like Burberry and Chanel have fostered a huge following on social thanks to the Chinese appetite for luxury goods and with 40 per cent of China’s online shoppers regularly posting and reading product reviewers, global retailers need to act now to build their relationships,” she continued. “If successful, the rewards can be rich. 59 per cent of Chinese consumers are willing to share product recommendations via Weibo, meaning it’s easy to spread brand advocacy across the platform’s 157 million monthly active users.”
With 300 million shoppers making a purchase on a mobile device in China last year — a 35 percent year-on-year increase — the time is now to engage the Chinese market for British brands.
image credit: burberry