Luxury brands flock to CIIE eyeing the potential of Chinese market

By Xie Jun and Qi Xijia Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/7 20:18:57

Photo: Xie Jun/GT

 From Cartier to Gucci, international luxury brands are showcasing their latest collections in the consumption exhibition hall of the third China International Import Expo (CIIE), turning it into one of the most glittering, bejeweled sections of the CIIE. 

Many of them are attending the expo for the third time. They said they were in a “happy mood,” as overseas luxury companies have reported outstanding sales this year in China not only because of China’s successful control of the pandemic and the affluence of Chinese consumers, but also because of their embrace of Chinese e-commerce. 

“Despite COVID19, our brand is growing very fast in China, and the Chinese market is obviously outperforming the rest, as there is a willingness from the Chinese government to foster the domestic market by decreasing the value added tax and import duties,” Mathieu Delmas, managing director of Piaget China, told the Global Times. 

Dean Wu, president of North Asia and Greater China of Swiss luxury watch brand Ulysse Nardin, also told the Global Times that many overseas luxury brands, including their own, had outstanding business performance in China this year. 

“I think no other place apart from China can provide such a good market environment, now that China has successfully controlled the pandemic. This is also leading to a shift of consumption from overseas markets back to China, which I think should turn into a (long-term) trend,” Wu said. 

This year also marks the second consecutive time for its parent company France Luxury Group Kering to participate in the CIIE.

“China’s ongoing development and economic rise has seen Chinese consumers’ expectations of the luxury industry rapidly evolve,” said Cai Jinqing, president of Kering Greater China.

At the CIIE, the Global Times saw that many visitors were taking selfies, watching the exhibits or talking with employees in the luxury exhibition area. The booths and products were also designed meticulously. Both Cartier and D&G invited artisans to the exhibition to display their craftsmanship on site. 

Ulysse Nardin has even launched a limited edition enamel watch that is specially designed for the CIIE, which features a panda-inspired enameled dial as a tribute to China. Only 100 pieces of the watch are made and one of them has been donated to the CIIE Bureau. 

The brands’ business success in China is also a result of their embrace of online channels, after the pandemic hit their offline businesses earlier this year. 

“We just launched our brand on Tmall [China’s B2C e-commerce platform] and we are promoting the brand through livestreaming. Today there is no boundary between online and offline. More people have discovered our brand online and are buying online as well, which led to a significant acceleration of our development,” Delmas from Piaget said. 
Last week, Piaget organized a livestreaming campaign with boutique managers promoting the collections online. Earlier, the livestreaming events held during the launch of its Tmall store gained the brand a total of 6 million times of interactions with the Chinese audiences. 
Its parent company Richemont, a Swiss-based luxury giant, saw triple-digit growth in online sales in China this year. So far, nine of Richemont’s brands have opened online flagship stores on

Photo: Xie Jun/GT

 Kering also saw triple-digit online sales growth in China this year. Overall, they had double-digit growth in the country. 

According to Wu, it’s not very easy for consumers to shop luxury custom-made watches, for reasons like online payment limits, so online sales cannot totally replace offline business. “However, for us, online strategy does not only mean selling on the internet. Instead, it means we can provide services via virtual reality means, which we only did in physical stores in the past." 

Media reports showed that nearly 200 luxury brands have taken part in this year’s Double 11 online shopping spree. Some of them, like Swiss watch brand Vacheron Constantin and clothing brand Burberry, will launch new products during the online festival. 

Although Piaget will not roll out special discounts for the Double 11 festival, it will offer interest-free payment installments to online shoppers, the company told the Global Times. 

Facing the booming market, brands also expressed determination to further tap the Chinese market. 

“We are going to continue to bring the latest collections in China on a priority basis and some exquisite collections that won't be available in other markets, and we will further work on some collaborations with Chinese artist designers to pay tributes to the Chinese audience,” Mathieu Delmas said. 

Guillaume Alix, CEO of Cartier China, also said that the brand is excited to further “deepen its ties with China”, having been a witness to China’s development and internationalization. 


blog comments powered by Disqus