The Rise of the Luxury Brand Market in China

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Gaining millions of followers on social media and having creative collaborations and strategic marketing are just a few of the ways that companies try to stand out from their competitors and allow luxury brands to grow worldwide. Top-tier fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Burberry, Gucci, and Hermès have increased their influence and demand is on the rise. It’s not just for the wealthy elite but also for a wider variety of consumers who are now stepping into the mix. We’re not only talking about the Met Gala, the runaways of Paris, or the streets of New York City, but rather the exponential growth and popularity in the bustling cities of Shanghai and Beijing, which continue to take China’s luxury market by storm while seeing a continual increase in demand for high-end products.

The global luxury market in China is already a billion-dollar industry and is still growing at a significant rate. In order to continue this growth, the luxury brand entities need to understand their consumers (both young and old) and how to appeal to different demographics.

Looking to broaden their scope, many luxury brands have created innovative marketing campaigns utilizing social media platforms, exhibits, livestreams, e-commerce, and digital experiences, including the popular Weibo, Douyin, and WeChat platforms in China (similar to Twitter, Tik Tok and Facebook in the West). In addition, augmented reality is also used by some brands (try on those fabulous sunglasses before you buy!) as they attempt to appeal to a wider and younger customer base to maintain their growth rates. Engaging and interactive digital displays all show the upward trend in both larger and smaller cities for upping one’s fashion and luxury brand style choices.

Celebrities and influencers continue to be at the forefront of the evolution of these brands, as many companies are using these third parties to appeal to a wider audience and increase their advertising reach, as well as seeking them out for collaborations or partnerships.

So, who are the best influencers and celebrities to get the inside scoop on luxury, fashion, and perhaps create more appeal for Gen-Z or Millennials interested in the luxury market? Anny Fan is a great starting point—as an early fashion blogger back in 2010, she’s since built up quite the reputation. With millions of followers on her Weibo account, a popular Instagram profile (@_annyfan_), along with her partnerships with Prada, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Miu Miu (to name a few!), she’s very popular and well-versed in the Chinese market, even consulting with luxury brands looking to expand their global reach. Anny has also crossed over into the US, specifically the New York scene, as she is now represented by the talent company The Society Model Management (which also happens to represent Kendall Jenner and other fashion influencers such as Yan Yan Chan).

If luxury handbags are more your style, look no further than Mr. Bags (Tao Liang, or @mrbagss on Instagram), a top fashion blogger with millions of followers across multiple platforms who has collaborated on collections with Burberry, Chloé, and Givenchy. He offers insights and advice to fellow handbag connoisseurs who are looking to make (or add) to their collections. He clearly knows what he’s talking about, as he has been recognized by Forbes Asia and Forbes China on their 30 Under 30 lists, as well as Business of Fashion’s BoF500: The People Shaping the Global Industry.

Up and coming designer Caroline Hu is also making a name for herself within the fashion world after completing her Parsons School of Design MFA program a few years ago. Her recent 2021 ready-to-wear Spring collection was featured in Vogue. 

As brands continue to collaborate and look at ways to increase their overall appeal and sell their products, having a celebrity or influencer can certainly speed the process along. Brands are also recognizing the mass global popularity of Asia’s pop music groups, utilizing many well-known performers who represent their brands and prominently feature in their campaigns. Tiffany & Co. recently promoted singer, dancer, and award-winning actor Jackson Yee to global ambassador, no doubt extending its brand awareness as it continues its growth and development within the Chinese market. Consider popular live streamer Viya (the stage name of Huang Wei), who is helping to grow livestreaming e-commerce with thousands of items selling out within minutes of her going live online. Becky Li (whose real name is Fang Yimin), a former journalist turned blogger, is an influencer with a large network of millions of followers across different platforms (on Instagram, she’s @beckys_fantasy). She’s worked with various luxury brands, and even sold 100 limited edition Mini Cooper cars through WeChat within 5 minutes of them going live on the site! A handbag she designed in partnership with fashion brand Rebecca Minkoff also sold out within days of its release.

More luxury brands are taking note of this growing trend and increasing the role of social media, high production value videos, livestreams, or interactive options as part of their campaigns to grow their consumer base in Asia and beyond. As China’s luxury market continues to boom, luxury brands will need to stay on the pulse of the industry and continue to adapt to new digital landscapes.

Stephanie Hawkins | Contributing Writer

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