Fashion and Apparel Marketing in China
The post COVID-19 fashion and apparel consumption market has recovered and shown encouraging growth over the years.
The Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) grew by 91% from 2019 to 2020, representing a strong online presence on both the purchasing and information side of the apparel market. In 2021, China’s online retail sales reached 13.0884 trillion yuan, up 14.1 percent from the previous year. Among them, the clothing industry also grew 8.3 percent. The online penetration rate of apparel exceeds that of the whole consumer goods market, and the online shopping channel contributes more than 45% to the growth of the consumer goods market. In 2019, the online retail volume reached 790 billion yuan and online clothing purchases accounted for 76.9% of Chinese consumers, while offline channels accounted for 23.1%.
Supply Chain Efficiency of Apparel Industry Varies with Seasonality
Although fast fashion brands launch their products with a significant rate, they still hard to catch consumers’ attention spans. Some fast fashion brands such as Zara and H&M go through a 2 to 6 weeks product life cycle. Although it is fair to say that consumers tend to focus more on the ever-changing trends and seasonal fashion styles, looking at trends online is conducive to predicting consumer behaviour in advance, mastering the trend of popular products, and guiding production and ordering.
At present, there are no specific laws and regulations for the garment industry in China, there are still relevant policies affecting the general direction of the garment industry, such as regulations for the light industry, textile industry and manufacturing industry. Because of this, the supporting power for China’s garment industry is obviously strong. In August 2019, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued the Implementation Opinions of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Improving the Quality of Manufacturing Products and Services to promote the release of innovative products in the light manufacturing and textile industry. They promise to foster and strengthen enterprises and platforms for personalized customisation, and continue to carry out pilot demonstrations in the textile and garment creative design platforms.
New Fashion Expression
With the upgrade of new lifestyles and scene requirements after the pandemic, consumers now have high requirements for their quality of life. New attention has been paid to fitness, camping, and home furnishing. The daily fitness scene has led to the growth of fitness wear and sports clothing. Staying at home has become the new normal, and the growth rate of videos on home outfits on social media has increased by 240%, driving the growth of home wear. With people looking for outdoor fashion and practical wear under the camping scene, exquisite outdoor fashion items have become a trend.
Top 10 Most Popular Fashion Brands on Content Platforms:
The most popular brands when it comes to content platforms(RED, Weibo and so on) have been mainly divided into high-end fashion brands and sportswear brands that are popular in the country. Dior and Hongxing Erke are the two most popular brands among users.
Top 5 Active Users of Small Program Platforms:
Middle fashion: Adidas (4.91 million), Uniqlo (386 million), Nike (177 million), Hot Wind (174 million), Muji (111 million)
Mass fashion: Li Ning (205 million), Decathlon (138 million), HongXing Erke (98 million), Xtep (45 million), Heilan Home (34 million)
Luxury: Gucci (159 million), Bulgari (131 million), Dior (123 million), Cartier (88 million), Celine (56 million)
Affordable luxury: Coach (31 million), Bosideng (27 million), I.T (22 million), Belle (19 million), Gloria (19 million)
Brand Positioning Preference
All kinds of brands in the fashion industry has maintained their user growth trend, with mid-end fashion and luxury brands developing rapidly. Domestic brands have also started out with a lower user growth trend than foreign brands but have maintained high growth. Mid-range fashion brands are currently the most popular, with the fastest growth in WeChat mini program users reaching 17.44 million, up 65.9% compared with last year, followed by mass fashion brands with 8.22 million users. It is worth noting that luxury fashion also has a high growth rate. Chinese consumers prefer foreign brands, and foreign brands have more active users than domestic brands, totaling to 19.4 million and 13.36 million respectively.
Information Channel Preference
Online-sharing has become an irresistible trend. Posts about foreign and domestic brands on content platforms show a split on preference when it comes to the two. Foreign brands are more popular on Weibo and RED, while local brands are more popular on Douyin and Kuaishou, showing that the market positions of the two tend to be divided. Foreign brands accounted for 79.2% of the content interaction on Weibo, while the content mentioned by RED accounted for 28.6%. Local brands accounted for 55.2% of content interaction on Douyin, while RED’s accounted for just 1.1%.
Female users pay more attention to brands at any brand grade than male users. Among them, men pay the highest attention to mass fashion, while men’s wear has maintained a high growth rate. Female users pay the most attention to affordable luxury brands, accounting for 71.1 %, followed by luxury brands.
Young users from the post-90s to the 2000s are paying more attention to luxury brands, while those from the post-80s to the 60s pay more attention to products with good value for the money. The post-80s pay the highest attention to affordable luxury fashion brands, accounting for 36.5%. The post-1960s generation pays the most attention to mid-range fashion, followed by mass fashion brands, accounting for 12.9% and 10.5 %, respectively. Those born in the 1980s tend to like foreign brands more, while those born in the 1970s and 1960s pay more attention to local brands.
Mass consumption brands are attractive to the users of the sinking market, while affordable luxury brands have relatively average performance in cities at all tiers. Luxury fashion is most popular in new and first-tier cities, accounting for 28.7% and 17.7%, respectively. Foreign and domestic brands show obvious differentiation in user portraits. Users above second-tier cities pay more attention to foreign brands, while those below third-tier cities prefer domestic brands.
Strategies for effective marketing of Fashion and Apparel products
Create Fashion Brand IP (intellectual property)
Brands collaborating with popular IPs are an effective means to obtain high premiums for apparel products. According to the data of China’s largest e-commerce platform Tmall(天猫), the unit price of IP apparel products is significantly higher than that of the same type of goods in the same store. The average IPV (Item Page View) of Tmall apparel IP products is about 5.7 times the average of the apparel market, showing strong traffic-redirecting ability.
The brand goes through four steps：
- Select the final IP to collaborate with by accurately matching the fans of the intended IP with the target consumer group of the brand.
- Carry out targeted IP product planning according to the fans’ preference and market insight into the category.
- Promotion of new products to increase market penetration of IP fans.
- Through subsequent data analysis and experience review, high-quality IP suitable for the brand is selected for continuous operation.
Private Domain Traffic Operation
For Chinese consumers who are accustomed to online shopping, offline channels cannot effectively retain customers. WeChat has a huge ecological dividend. Relying on the e-commerce function of the social platform, it can form a fission of communication through users’ word-of-mouth. The experiential consumption and communication between acquaintances can enhance users’ trust in the brand, and facilitate the data-based management of users, so as to continuously improve the purchase frequency and efficiency. For example, Adidas has established a content matrix for its official account, which ultimately leads to the entrance to its WeChat mini program mall, realizing the value transformation of content traffic flow. For example, Gucci obtains user clues through WeChat mini programs, guides users to purchase on offline stores, and guides online users to become offline members, giving them deep offline service experience.
Marketing Cooperation with KOLs
KOLs are selected depending on what kind of followers they attract and if they are able to represent the brand well with their image. The core of this is to find places where potential customers are concentrated to “set off fireworks”, so as to rapidly accumulate new customers and further open the popularity among the broader public.
Step 1: Find the core fans of KOLs or Big IPs.
Step 2: Determine the targeted fans and establish the hierarchical relationship of communication (core fans, IP circle fans, brand/fashion fans, pan-public/clothing)
Step 3: Establish marketing channels for fans and social media to infiltrate the public from the core KOL. (Topics initiated by top KOLs in the circle, pan-entertainment cooperation, store promotion/live broadcast and other forms of sales)
If a traditional clothing brand wants to expand to younger consumers and enter the fashion circle of the young generation, it can co-brand with popular fashion brands among younger people.
Initially, through market insight and testing, brands can launch 1.0 products (the first version of the product) for testing and selling in a small range of the market, and continue to improve products or marketing channels according to the opinions of consumers. After further meeting consumer demand, brands can launch improved 2.0 products to extend the product life cycle and help the brand attract more new generation consumers.
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How big is the fashion industry in China?
There are 13,300 enterprises above the scale in China’s garment industry, with a total garment output of 22.373 billion pieces and a total operating revenue of 1.369.7 billion yuan. In terms of clothing retail, the market size is expected to exceed 4 trillion yuan in 2023.We can help you to get reliable fashion and apparel information from a local presence. Our customer research can quickly and clearly understand your target customers. We can also operate from an educated viewpoint from the earliest stages to your next stages of your business in China. Contact us to get more information.
How to conduct online hot fashion topics operations in China?
Mainstream media in China have their own hot search lists and it may change every day, and fashion and clothing brands can gain lots of additional traffic by discussing the current hot topics in the fashion field on social media.
If you are looking for localized content planning,our strategy service is your best choice.Our strategic team’s superpower is developing outstanding content for social media and E-commerce, not only text, but also visually enjoyable content. Schedule a call to know more details.
What social medias are popular among Chinese consumers in terms of fashion sharing？
Douyin, RED and Weibo are the top three most popular platforms for sharing dress collection content. It is worth noting that smaller platforms such as Dewu are also popular for Gen Z in China.We have a range of services around Chinese social media to help you create your own brand official account from scratch or get better social media marketing performance. Please contact us to know more about social medias.
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