Luxury brands are experiencing a new step, a new path forward. They do not sell only clothing or handbags anymore. They develop their branding and sales through a unique concept: the art of living. In China, brands are finding their customers of their art of living collection. If you are not familiar with this term, the art of living is a French concept. L’art de vivre refers to a wide collection of luxury or premium products created to make our daily life a piece of art. This guide is dedicated to all CEO, marketing directors, and product managers exploring this unique category. In this article, we will guide you through the main opportunities and strategies in China for your art of living collection including sports, games, home, furnitures, books, pet accessories, lifestyle, etc.
- Chinese consumers will account for 50% of luxury clients by 2050
- Only 7% of Chinese consumers do not plan to purchase luxury art de vivre (compared to 33% of French consumers and 23% of American consumers)
- 1 The Potential of the Art of Living Collections in China
- 2 Market Trends and Expert Tips on Lifestyle Products
- 3 How to Market your Art of Living in the Chinese Market?
- 4 GMA: They Agency Who Knows What you Need
- 5 Some of Our Case Studies
The Potential of the Art of Living Collections in China
The Chinese Luxury and Premium Market is Thriving
China has one of the biggest luxury product markets in the world. According to Statista, the revenue of the Chinese luxury goods market reached 39.3 billion USD in 2020 and will increase to 59.1 billion USD by 2025. According to Bain & Company, Chinese consumers should account for 50% of the global luxury sales by 2050.
Chinese HNWI are Willing to Buy Luxury Products… in Mainland China
With the booming economy and the raise of the Chinese middle class, more and more Chinese people are willing to spend more on daily-used products. At the same time, the number of high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) in China is also growing. In 2020, the number of HNWI with at least 1 to 5 million USD wealth has exceeded 5 million people. When their demand for luxury products is expanding to daily lifestyle products, the art of living category is emerging in the Chinese market.
The repatrition of luxury spending is the main change of the luxury market after Covid. While only 27% of Chinese luxury shoppers used to purchase in mainland China, the closing of borders changed the game. According to Bain & Company, 50% of luxury purchase are estimated to be made in mainland China in 2025.
The Chinese Market is More Important than France and U.S.
By cross-matching the report on the importance of luxury or premium products by category in China in 2022 with the one in France and the U.S., the market difference becomes extremely obvious. The Chinese market brings more opportunity than US or France for the everyday luxury.
In this report, 23 categories (Including Household appliances, Furniture, Sports & outdoor products, Toys & baby products, etc.) are mentioned for respondents to choose if they are willing to buy luxury or premium products of that category. Surprisingly, as the origin country of the concept “Art de Vivre” and the biggest luxury market, France and US didn’t show a positive attitude towards the purchase of luxury and premium products. 33% of French respondents and 23% of U.S. respondents are not willing to buy luxury or premium products from any of those categories while only 7% of Chinese respondents gave the same answer.
This difference is also shown in other categories, you can see the difference from the graph with 6 selected categories connected with the art of living sector. Except for the pet category, Chinese respondents have shown a much more positive attitude than the French and U.S. respondents. This comparison delivers brief and simple information: China is the market for art of living products.
Market Trends and Expert Tips on Lifestyle Products
For Lifestyle, Fitness Products are Getting Popular
The rapid development of the Chinese customers’ middle class changed the face of the market. Today, this consumer category is more financially stable and pays more attention to their own health. The fitness industry benefited a lot from this trend. Chinese customers are going to the gym, yoga studio, pilate classes, sports training, etc. Especially after Covid-19, they realized the importance to take care of their own health with a regular sports activity.
This consumer habits evolution brought the opportunity of premium fitness equipment. When certain practices such as yoga and pilates become popular with a wide audience among the middle class and the HNWI, the related fitness equipment such as yoga mats and yoga balls is spreading. The HNWIs are looking for luxury and premium equipment to protect their Mianzi and show their financial capabilities. In this case, the most important factor for a luxury fitness product is not the design and material. It is the brand name and the brand expertise that helps the product stand out as professional fitness equipment.
Chinese Customers Prefer Games and Playful Items
In history, China has always been a playful country. When you go to China, you can always experience dice games in bars and cafes. Playing games is a common habit among Chinese consumers, which turns the market into a top priority for luxury brands proposing special assortments in games.
Among their favorite games, you can find: Mahjong, cards, and dice.
The Rise of Luxury Skateboards with the Hip-hop Trend
More and more Chinese younger generations are attracted by the Hip-hop trend, bringing attention to related industries including streetwear as well as skateboards. Skateboards were not related to the luxury industry, but when the audience is getting wide, the demand for luxury skateboards appears among rich hip-hop lovers. Brands like Louis Vuitton have already launched some luxury skateboards, and co-branding with fashion streetwear brands can also be a good option.
Outdoor Products have a Special Potential
Sport and outdoor products got second place among the six art of living categories in the report on the importance of luxury or premium products by category in China in 2022. With a 16% acceptance rate, this sector has remarkable potential because its audience is really wide from rich teenagers to aged sports lovers. Brands who want to enter this market in China need to prepare for various demands by age and type of sport. At the time, they cannot successfully attract an audience from different sports, so starting from a certain group of sports lovers can be an entrance to the Chinese market.
Luxury Books: Rare and Niche Sector
When we talk about luxury sectors, few mention luxury books. This is because they are not usually sold with their own brand, but are more likely to cooperate with other brands as a publishing house. The content of a book is taking the major attention of the customer, this decreased the visibility of the brand itself. HNWI Chinese consumers are spending more and more in luxury books. It became a must-have for their apartment in Shanghai or Hainan to display their unique taste and high financial meanings.
Since it’s hard for luxury book brands to do marketing with their brand identity like other luxury brands, they need to find a new way to promote themselves. What can be their way out when they cannot promote hero products and a wide audience?
The answer is digital marketing. Digital marketing allows luxury book brands to do marketing without highlighting a certain collection or selling a large number of books. Luxury brands can create their character via social media to gain visibility among different audience groups since they are not in a certain luxury product sector such as bags or watch. Do more cooperation with other brands and launching your books for the customers of these brands will eventually make your books a social currency. That’s the stage when your brand is widely known among luxury customers and they see your books as a symbol.
How to Market your Art of Living in the Chinese Market?
Art of living is a special category that requires a special strategy. Before going in details into the different steps, you can find a brief summary below:
- Chinese website: The priority will be to have a Chinese website to explain the positioning of this specific line. You will need to clarify to your Chinese audience if your brand is specialized in this field or if you have another specialization but this line made sense in your own universe.
- Little Red Book: Since the luxury and lifestyle community is spending the majority of their time on Xiaohongshu instead of any other social media, we suggest focusing on this social media. The first step will be to know if you create a dedicated account for this “art of living” line or if you incorporate it into your brand account.
- WeChat: This social media will be key for your brand awareness and your sales. Since you will not be able to sell your art of living line on Tmall, we suggest opening and running a WeChat mini-program to sell directly to your Chinese core audience.
- Press relation: Having some official press releases in Chinese luxury magazines will help boost your art of living collection. You can have releases in large magazines and more niche magazines dedicated to home, decoration, lifestyle, games, etc.
- Sales: For the sales, your conversion channels will be a Chinese website or a WeChat store. As we said about Tmall, you will need to combine the offline with distribution and the online with a Chinese website and WeChat store.
Select your Audience Carefully on Social Media
Art of living is a niche category, so targeting the right audience is more important than ever. Currently, your potential customers are from first and second-tier cities and aged from teenagers to middle age depending on your brand and collection identity. Using the right social media and raising the topic among the right audience can help you find your customers at a lower cost and higher efficiency. Take Xiaohongshu as an example, you can easily target female audiences from young girls to mothers. This group can be divided again by using different tags to attract people with certain interests or target by location to find those who live in big cities.
Xiaohongshu: How to trigger the Willingness to “Show off”
Xiaohongshu is also a place for sharing, both opinions, and experiences. For the art of living products, triggering their willingness to show off is very important and can be a key motivation for them to buy your product. To reach this result, you need to first make your brand and product a premium and luxury image among your audience. Cooperating with KOL and KOC can boost your visibility and help your brand start at a higher level of brand image. When your brand and your product build up a rare and luxurious image, your customers will be more willing to pursue your products and show them off on social media.
Never Promote as a Product, you are Selling your Lifestyle
Art of living products usually has a huge challenge in that they can be replaced easily with affordable products with the same function, and this is the main challenge in China. When China has a huge manufacturing volume with good quality on most products, your art of living products can be easily abandoned with cheaper and even higher quality products. That’s why you need to promote the lifestyle your brand is delivering rather than the product itself.
Investing more in digital branding on social media and under-cover branding to release the image of the lifestyle your brand represents can do the job. If your brand is linked with a certain lifestyle or attitude of living, your products can be seen with added value and win the Chinese market.
Sell on WeChat and Chinese Website to Make Everything Easy
One thing you cannot ignore if you want to sell in China is e-commerce. For the majority of luxury and fashion brands, Tmall is the key. It is the go-to platform for premium brands but not for art of living. Why? Because you cannot sell different categories under the same Tmall store. In a word, if you are a ready-to-wear brand having a tableware line, you cannot sell plates with t-shirts on your store. You will need to open 2 stores which also means 2 warehouses, 2 logistic processes, 2 yearly yees, and 2 additional costs.
If you want to sell your art of living collection whether it is tableware, linen, games, books, or anything else we recommend sending this assortment to your Chinese website or your WeChat store. In the first case, you will need an ICP license or host your website in Hong Kong. In the second case, you will need to open a WeChat official account and then create a WeChat mini-program including a WeChat store.
GMA: They Agency Who Knows What you Need
GMA is a digital marketing agency with rich experience in China. Based in Shanghai, the commercial center of China, GMA has more than 10 years of experience and trusted by hundreds of brands since its foundation. With the diversity of industries we have been working on, we can help your find your path to success in China no matter how niche your brand is. Feel free to contact GMA for a first consultant.
How Can GMA Support Your Brand
GMA is a real Swiss knife handling all digital marketing tools you can use in China. Social media marketing, KOL cooperation, e-commerce operation, and market research, as you can imagine, as we can offer you professional support. More than a consultant agency, we will help you find your strategy and walk you through your sales in China.
Professionals in Branding and E-commerce, ROI Focused
Your benefit matters to us, GMA always sees our clients as partners and friends, so we care about what you can really benefit from our cooperation. Focusing on ROI, we will help your brand find the most efficient solution in branding and e-commerce with the lowest cost. We are not staring only at a one-time campaign, but the long-term benefit for your brand.
You might have found it hard to find the right partner in branding and marketing in China because the art of living category is so special. It’s neither a normal luxury sector nor a normal product. With GMA Luxury Division, you can find an expert who knows your specialty. Directly by an experienced former LVMH talent Anais Bournonville, we are focusing on various categories in the luxury field. At GMA Luxury Division, you will find an expert in marketing who really knows your brand and your industry.
Some of Our Case Studies
Luxury Furniture – Ethnicraft
For twenty-five years, Ethnicraft has been creating authentic, contemporary, and timeless furniture from solid wood and natural materials. With outstanding craftsmanship at the core of the brand, their Belgium-based company believes in creating quality wooden furniture that lasts for generations and withstands trends. Ethnicraft contracted GMA for support on Baidu SEO for better visibility and e-reputation.
- Keywords “high-end tourism” ranking Top 1
- More than 12 leads a month
- Strong exposure online
Card Game – ‘Do you know me?’
‘Do you know me?’ card game is designed by What Do You Meme? game company. This card game aims to test the knowledge of participating players. Through this card game, players would have a better understanding of friends who already know, and even what players did not know. Based on the success of Western countries’ markets, ‘Do you know me?’ also want to have space in the Chinese entertainment market. Therefore, they contacted GMA to help them with their copywriting & translation effort as well as a digital marketing strategy in the country.
- Localization strategy on their brand identity.
- Copywriting & translation of their product content and press release.