In recent years, the waves of foreign clothing and cosmetics have washed over the Chinese markets. Now the home improvement industry is about to crest. ZARA HOME, a company from Spain, is one of several large home decorating and household goods retailers looking to cash in on a market awash with trendy homeowners.
ZARA opened its first Beijing retail location in August at The Place shopping center. This September, it opened a second, bigger location at the Solana Lifestyle Shopping Park.
“China is a great market for us and we were looking to find the perfect place and moment,” said a spokesperson for the Chinese operation of Inditex, ZARA’s parent company. A number of rival brands have similar feelings: companies like Harbor House from the United States, MUJI from Japan, and HOLA Home Furnishing Store from Taiwan are close neighbors to ZARA’s Solana location and success.
“We have two different collections launching each year and we follow the fashion trends. We believe in the easy home update, and hope to provide a different look for a home each season,” said Inditex China’s spokesperson. To accomplish this, ZARA maintains an expansive inventory of tableware, glassware, home accessories, furniture, linen, bedding, carpet, and upholstery.
ZARA opened its third Chinese store in Guangzhou at the end of September and a fourth in Tianjin in October. A surging interest in interior decorating has been palpable in a number of areas, particularly in advertising.
According to CTR Market Research of Beijing, advertising revenue of the nine interior decorating magazines it surveys reached 341 million yuan ($53.7 million) in the first 8 months of this year, up 16 percent from 2010. Publicity campaigns launched by ZARA HOME and similar stores will likely contribute to growing advertising revenue.
“Our rapid expansion is due to the rise of the Chinese consumer market and the improvement in people’s lifestyle tastes,” said Tong Zhixiang, CEO of Test Rite Group, the parent company of HOLA. Sales revenue for the company was $1.1 billion last year, increasing by 13 percent from 2009. Such growth is relative across the industry.
The marketing efforts of the home furnishings companies are focused on 25- to 45-year-old white collar workers with a house of more than 100 square meters, particularly females.
“Our target customers are people who love fashion and decoration,” said Inditex China’s spokesperson. Based on those criteria, it’s no surprise that the industry is expanding by upward of 100 percent per year.
photo credit: zara home