How Apparel brands should approach the Chinese e-commerce market ?

Chinese e-Commerce market is booming

China’s economic growth slowed to 6.9% in 2015. This was a big surprise for everyone. Despite this slowdown, the new Chinese middle class continues to grow and still consumes more buying especially online. The thirst of those Chinese consumers for brands and products from abroad remains a great opportunity for luxury brands and fashion in China.

$589.61 billion online purchase

Chinese consumers bought 3.877 trillion yuan (589.61 billion US dollars) of products online in 2015. There was an increase of 33.3% from last year according to the National Statistics Office in China. In the US, online sales totaled $ 341.7 billion in 2015. Online sales in China surpassed online sales in the United States. China is by far the largest e-commerce market in the world.

Strong demand of the Chinese middle class for foreign products

Brands and overseas traders contributed to the growth in China. Indeed, there is a strong demand in the Chinese middle class for foreign products such as Apple iPhone, Wal Mart stores, imported food, brand ready-to-wear foreign.

mobile China

Among one of the e-commerce market growth factors is the possibility for Chinese consumers living in villages far from the city to have access to all the same products abroad. These Chinese consumers are now very often connected to the Internet from their mobile.

70% of the online sales are made via mobile.

In June 2015, China had 668 million Internet users, and about 89% of them, approximately 594 million were connected from their smartphones according to the Information Center of China Internet. Just during the festival of Alibaba’s Singles’ Day in November, Chinese consumers bought $ 14 billion of goods and 70% of these sales were made from mobile.

Apparel in Chinese Rural Areas

Rural areas where there are still few physical stores available to consumers represent an enormous potential for brands of ready-to-wear available online. In fact, 186 million Internet users live outside major Chinese cities in 2015. The marks must further encourage these consumers to shop. Alibaba built 100 000 service centers in small towns and villages to help people buy online or become traders as 8 million sellers on Taobao.

Since 2012, the Chinese government has revised several of these policies to facilitate the purchase of products abroad via the internet for Chinese consumers.

China does not collect the sales tax from the cross-border e-commerce market and the customs tax rights on objects in certain categories have been reduced by more than half for items purchased on websites outside China.

China is an attractive Market for International Apparel Brands

This is why it has become very attractive for foreign brands to expand into the eCommerce market in China. Many luxury brands are already taken the lead. Either foreign businesses have their own website or they can go through major Chinese e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba and Tmall.

Tmall is a B2C e-commerce platform its offer is vast and diverse, but still heavily focused on fashion. When you visit the site, you can see the different categories which allow consumers to switch from one category to another and see the many products offered on the site.

The example of Burberry on Tmall

Burberry Tmall

With its typical British luxury appeal, Burberry reported great success in China. In addition to having already opened 78 stores in 36 cities in China and its official online website, the brand launched its official online store on Tmall. The choice may seem surprising, but this is a very good strategy to reach Chinese consumers and consolidate the Chinese market.

Given the disappointing results of the retail offline, Burberry decided to make profits on the thirst for high-end products and online luxury of Chinese consumers, boosted by the outstanding performance of the entire e-commerce market.

Read Also Why E-commerce is Essential for Luxury Brands in China?

Online Branding is a Must in China

In addition, increasing its online presence through official channels, the brand takes the risk to greatly reduce the gray market power on fake Burberry products. Massively available in most Chinese e-commerce platforms, Tmall first.

The official online store on Tmall Burberry follows the same visual rules that the official website of the brand, dividing products into the different sections of the top menu tab and in the middle of the home page.

Rado on Tmall

Rado site

Rado’s Swiss watch brand was also launched on the Chinese e-commerce market. It has opened its official online store on Tmall. which is the only official online store in China.
The homepage of the Tmall store differs from the homepage of the official website of Rado.
The focus is on the female collection Jubilee followed by all other collections in a sequence scrolling down.

Tmall is the Chinese official online store of Rado, which is why it is quite complex, with multiple sections. Thus the entire collection of the brand is available, and also the pages of information related to the brand’s history as well as famous celebrities wearing the watch.

In recent years, many e-commerce sites focused on fashion and luxury have stimulated the Chinese market. These are independent sites from brands’ official sites. These sites offer users a new experience of shopping in high-end online. Here is the example of aims to bring the latest fashion trends and innovative shopping experiences online to Chinese customers through digital platforms. It is among the first luxury e-commerce companies, and it creates a lot of experience and innovative services. At the same time, publishes the e-magazine called Fashion Mzine that combines fashion media and e-commerce, which helps to completely remodel the online shopping experience. exclusively sells luxury brands, high-end products, and fashion. However, the most popular and functional page is “Mzine” which combines trends, content, and products together.

Regarding the guarantee on the authenticity of products, ensures that all products on the site are authentic and international brands. It also provides return and exchange services within 7 days of purchase, and accepts customer identification applications, as In addition, on request provides a copy of the invoice and gives some suggestions on how to check whether the product is genuine or not.

For More Information about Fashion in China



  • Soba Night

    Hi there! Would you share with me a kind of book with e-commerce platforms that are efficient in China? I might be interested in knowing more about e-commerce in China

  • marcel@

    Great article, yes apparel SME should ready move to China fast, i have the feeling that it is their Future

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