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Saturated Chinese market holds opportunities for niche brands

A focus on elite in store experience and smaller niche brands will be the leading factors for success in luxury fashion competing in a slowing Chinese market, industry leaders have said.

Speaking yesterday at Walpole’s British Luxury Summit, Barclays vice chairman Sir David Wright spoke of current head-winds facing the Chineses market, projecting growth to decline by 4% or 5% within the next two years.

In a market saturated by luxury labels, Chinese consumers are on the hunt for more exclusive brands, offering more niche brands new opportunities, according to McKinsey & Co principal Yuval Atsmon.

He said shoppers were moving away from “flashy, logo-heavy products” towards more sophisticated and reserved luxury items.

Atsmon claimed there was “no shortage opportunities” for small and medium sized niche brands in China, emphasing that the heritage of British brands. He said telling the story behind the label was essential when engaging with and capturing the imagination of the Chinese shopper.

“The in store experience is essential in the Chinese luxury market,” he added. “Some 52% of luxury shoppers in China say that in store service is the most important touch point when making a purchase.”

Speaking about this need to understand the Chinese customer, KPMG China’s partner in charge of consumer markets practice Nick Debnam said unlike European men, those in China tend to “shop in packs” and relax in store “smoking and drinking coffee while trying on suits.”

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