The Chinese often say, “France is a mobile feast”, whether it is the historical heritage of the French cultural revival, or the free spirit of the French people who are good at declarations, but also the countless classic luxury goods made in France. France has always had its own unique views on beauty in the world, and Paris is the title of the fashion capital. “The love of beauty is in everyone’s heart”, and French brands are grabbing the hearts of Chinese people step by step. How to market your French fashion brand to seduce these “France lovers” living in China?
Why French Brands are so Popular in China？
France is the Heart of Global Luxury
When we mention France, luxury is definitely what comes to mind. French luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Dior, or Chanel will automatically come to Chinese people’s minds. From a global perspective or from a Chinese perspective, luxury seems to have become a synonym for France.
French luxury goods have a history of hundreds of years, which are very eye-catching, such as Hermès in 1837, Cartier in 1847, and Louis Vuitton in 1854. Chinese netizens always fall in love with beautiful storytelling and strong brand values. This is why luxury is so successful in China because they know the transmission of history and know-how throughout the generations. Luxury goods are mostly the best in their respective fields, the raw materials are carefully selected, the production is detailed, the shape is individual and chic, and the user experience is very good.
For Chinese people, to buy French luxury goods is not only to pay for art but also a symbol of status. The importance of “the face” is still strong in China. So, a person wearing a LV bag or a Dior dress is a proof of strong financial assets and successful life. At the same time, a large part of the purchased luxury goods will be kept by Chinese people, who think that luxury goods can keep their value and are also good investments.
The Atmosphere of French Life Seduces Chinese
Chinese people often say that France is the most romantic country in the world, besides the romantic Eiffel Tower and the romantic blue coast. For the Chinese people, both the fashion style and lifestyle of French are very appealing. French wine, French food, coffees, bars, restaurants, unique landscapes, and the way people work but enjoy life. On Chinese social media, many hashtags such as #French Lifestyle# are emerging as a trend, when Chinese share the way they enjoy life with their friends and loved ones, going to museums, cultural institutions, or delicate restaurants.
Among them, French dressing brands are very popular with the Chinese fashion shoppers. In the eyes of Chinese consumers, French people consider black, white and grey as the classic, they will not change their dressing style according to the rapid change of fashion trends every year. Many French luxury brands have always taken black, white, and grey as the essential colors for their annual shows. This is the reason why sustainable brands from France have a higher sales potential in China. Chinese consumers would prefer fast fashion to match the always evolving trends, but would purchase slow fashion from French brands as they consider French style as timeless elegance.
Among them, Sandro and Maje sales volume is very high in China in recent years. The Chinese also opened the “French lazy dressing” as a Parisian outfit style that they adore. In Chinese people culture, the French laziness (法式慵懒) refers to the Chinese impression that French people are natural and unpretentious, free and romantic.
In addition, some very distinctive French trinkets tend to attract Chinese people. For example, Les Néreides to “girl’s feelings” has a unique selling point loved by Chinese people. Each of their jewelry is from their own atelier handmade, each element is unique, each of the series has its own story, and the pricing is relatively close to the light luxury products. It can be said that wearing small accessories is also a very important part of the French dress.
The Quest of the “Made in France” High Quality
In mainland China, a few very sensational product quality problems appeared with products made by local brands in China. Part of the country lost confidence in national products, looking for more high-end production processes. For Chinese consumers, France is a synonym of high-quality standards. Coupled with the national goods that are not cheap, relatively speaking, imported goods can make the Chinese more likely to purchase from overseas. The price is higher, hence the quality is higher.
For example, the French wine grading system is strict, with a complex production process, storage rules and preservation environment requirements. Chinese consumers will always favor French wine compared to local wine, which explains why some Chinese wine brands are trying to copy French etiquettes. Data show that from January to May 2021, China imported 42.2 million liters of wine from France, with an import value of 1.63 billion RMB. And the same logic is also applying in fashion, with a strong requirements on fashion products’ etiquette about the composition and origin.
3 Steps to Market your French Brand Efficiently
Step 1: Open your Official Account on Little Red Book, the Lifestyle Social Media
Little Red Book is the English name of the famous fashion app Xiaohongshu. The app started in 2014 with the “shopping notes”, being a mix of Pinterest and social recommendations on your latest fashion purchase. In 2022, there are 100 million active users on the app, sharing pictures about fashion, cosmetics, travels, lifestyle, and babies products.
This social media should be the key platform for your marketing in mainland China. The app became the number one search engine for cross-border e-commerce in China. Everyday, there are 300 billion posts viewed on RED with 70% of them being user generated content (UGC). Amost 90% of the users are women, and they are in quest of the latest fashion trends and fashion products.
You can launch an official account by registering an overseas brand account. How to start on Little Red Book? You will need to share with the platform several documents such as your business license, international trademark, etc. After a careful review, Little Red Book will send you a Chinese contract to be stamped and signed by your company. For this step, it is better to have a Chinese lawyer or a Chinese agency to translate the contract for you to understand under what conditions you are signing.
Step 2: Launch a PR Campaign with Vogue China and ELLE China
Your online reputation is a very important tool for your brand’s success in China. Even if your marketing and brand image is curated, Chinese consumers will pay attention to your reputation. What people say about you? Is your products quality good? Did you have any negative feedback from consumers?
For this, they will check on Baidu the main press releases and forums discussion about your brand. If you want to build a positive brand image, you need to work on your PR campaign. The best way for a fashion brand to get local recognition in China is to partner with Chinese versions of fashion magazines such as Vogue and ELLE. There are several requirements to follow if you want to have your own article on these platforms. From experience, your brand can be accepted by Vogue China after 3 to 4 months of brand presence on the Chinese market. Then, journalists will accept to talk about your brand. This is what happened with several of fashion brands we worked with, including Jardin Epicure.
Step 3: Label your French Brand Flagship Store on Tmall Global
Tmall Global is the star e-commerce platform for luxury and fashion brands. The majority of newcomers always hesitate between launching a Tmall China store or a Tmall Global store. The main advantage of a Tmall Global store is that you can use your French business license and your French trademark to open a flagship store. With this possibility, your official store will immediately be labelled with a “from France” flag label by Tmall. This small tool is a great incentive for Chinese consumers.
If you want to launch your Tmall Global store, you will need to work with a TP like us (Tmall Partner). Basically, TPs have daily talks with categories managers from Tmall and can manage more efficiently your store knowing all the dos and don’ts of Chinese e-commerce stores. Especially on Tmall, all your product pages must be written in Chinese and the store design must be optimized for Chinese fashion consumers.
Bonus: Find the right partner
China is a country with a large population and a high market demand, combined with the development of digital media and logistics, French goods have very advantageous conditions to join the Chinese market. Compared to European markets, China is a very competitive market and you will need to find your unique selling point (USP) to market your brand locally. And for this, finding the right partner is key.
We are Gentlemen Marketing Agency (GMA), a digital marketing agency based in Shanghai, China. We have been working on the market for more than 10 years and have created numerous success stories. From social media, to online reputation and e-commerce we are your eyes and your hands in China.
If you are interested to launch your French brand on the Chinese market, you can contact us