Louis Vuitton in China: Online Marketing Case Study

Louis Vuitton Malletier, commonly referred to as Louis Vuitton or L.V is a French luxury fashion company founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton. The brand is owned by LVMH, which also owns Moët Hennessy. The brand is a French multinational apparel and accessories company headquartered in Paris, France. The label is well known for its internationally renowned LV monogram featured on most of the brand’s items. Louis Vuitton is one of the world’s leading international fashion houses, selling its products through standalone boutiques, high-end department stores, and the e-commerce section of its website.

In this blog post, we will focus on Louis Vuitton’s success in China, its biggest market, and analyzing its marketing and sales strategy.

Market Analysis of Louis Vuitton in China

Chinese consumers appreciate long-lasting luxury goods that will not go out of fashion. Louis Vuitton specializes in making timeless products, although the luxury brand remains innovative and trendy, many of its handbags and watches have not much changed in the last few years.

The aforementioned point shows that Louis Vuitton opts for a different strategy from its main competitors, such as Dior or Gucci, who are known to launch new collections almost every year. As a result, a lot of Chinese consumers dream of owning one of the classic LV bags and some of them save money for months or even years in order to purchase one. 

In recent years, Louis Vuitton has continued its digital innovation in the Chinese market. In previous years, Louis Vuitton opened self-operated e-commerce in 12 cities in China for the first time, also the brand provided purchasing and delivery services to all Chinese cities, and launched a WeChat boutique and WeChat Mini-Program pop-up store.

Source: Jingdaily

Louis Vuitton’s Strategy in the Chinese Luxury Market

Louis Vuitton’s strategy is a blend of offline and online activities. In August Louis Vuitton showed off its new Spring and Summer 2023 menswear collection with a fashion show displayed in Shanghai, that was live-streamed internationally.

The show featured celebrities and guests seated along the catwalk, promoting its online side via a heavily publicized live stream and full-court social media press.

Louis Vuitton’s content strategy in China for 2023 has been one of the most innovative, they have tried to get consumers interested in the new collections via relatively traditional methods, such as star-studded offline events.

Revenue GrowthThe Fashion & Leather Goods business group of Louis Vuitton recorded a 25% revenue growth in 2022. This demonstrates the brand’s strong financial performance despite potential challenges in the Chinese market.
ProfitabilityLouis Vuitton has shown strong profitability, with a positive performance in recurring operations. The consistent positive performance indicates that Louis Vuitton’s approach to the Chinese market is financially fruitful.
Brand StrategyLouis Vuitton emphasizes exclusivity as a key factor in its business strategy, which has contributed to its success. This has resonated with Chinese consumers who value unique and limited-edition items.
Challenges and OpportunitiesDespite regulatory hurdles, import duties, and counterfeit products, Louis Vuitton has consistently performed well in China. This indicates that the brand has been effective at navigating these obstacles.

A strong focus on younger consumers

In the past few years, Louis Vuitton has been reaching out to Millennials and Gen Z, which turned out to be a successful strategy. In the past luxury brands wanted to be associated with excess wealth and privilege, but today’s luxury is more inclusive.

By collaborating with streetwear brands (Supreme, Off White, etc…), partnering with young influencers and celebrities, and building an online presence that connects with younger consumers, Louis Vuitton has created a global sensation while changing the rules of audience engagement.

Louis Vuitton x Supreme collab / Kris Wu for Louis Vuitton Spring-Summer 2021

Their online presence is one of the most important in the luxury industry. Louis Vuitton is leading the social media revolution across the world and is proving that a heritage luxury brand can be savvy with social media. While some heritage brands such as Chanel have remained highly inaccessible, Louis Vuitton continues to break new ground with social media engagement. This is quite unexpected for luxury brands, which are often slow to engage with consumers online.

Specific to China, Louis Vuitton attracted younger customers by highlighting streetwear collaborations and leveraging the power of KOLs in that country. For example, choosing rapper and television celebrity Kris Wu as their brand ambassador was an audacious move that sent both fans and haters into a frenzy while allowing social media conversations about the brand to thrive.

Embracing digital innovation

Most luxury brands have taken a slower approach to integrating digital campaigns, and several luxury houses still haven’t integrated consistent digital brand experiences. However Louis Vuitton is a digital pioneer, especially for having created a WeChat Mini Program specifically for the launch of their Virgil Abloh-designed sneakers.

Establishing a customers-centered service

Louis Vuitton was the first luxury brand to open a WeChat service account in 2012 when they realized the unique nature of this personal messaging app, and so they proceeded to create a customer-centric WeChat marketing strategy.

According to a report by Gartner, Louis Vuitton boasts a very sophisticated brand zone feature on WeChat. The brand zone is a WeChat function that allows labels to have a ‘micro homepage with a comprehensive listing of information and content. 

When searching Louis Vuitton on WeChat, the brand zone homepage will be the first result to appear, linking to commerce, account, live chat customer service, and even seasonal features like Chinese New Year Stickers. This system allows consumers to access brand content easily and keep up to date.

Louis Vuitton WeChat Brand Zone + mini Program and Wechat Post in the background

Strict control of their distribution channels

Louis Vuitton has remained cautious with its distribution rights, and this vigilance has benefited the brand in the long run. Eventually, if a luxury house expands excessively, it might result in affecting negatively the brand’s overall status and value.

Despite the fact that brands can now reach more potential consumers than ever, the appeal of buying luxury brands is all about their exclusivity, as a matter of fact, no one wants to invest in easily available luxury items. Louis Vuitton fans and consumers know that the brand doesn’t have sales for department stores. Because of this, Louis Vuitton keeps their production and pricing in check, therefore, always maintaining its high-end appeal.

LV China stays on top of trends

Louis Vuitton manages to stay ahead of trends mainly due to their brand image and reputation but also thanks to their artistic collaborations, like the one with contemporary artist Jeff Koons in 2017, Louis Vuitton has resurrected iconic leather accessories, with younger consumers now enthusiastically embracing those products.

Moreover, Louis Vuitton decided to take the customization trend a step further by starting their “Now Yours Run Away” personalization program for sneakers (2018). Because authenticity and self-expression are important to Chinese consumers, they like influencing the design process of the products they are going to buy. This is why the customization trend responds well to Chinese needs.

The next step for Louis Vuitton in the Chinese market is that it will continue to invest in cross-channel customer experiences. Louis Vuitton is a digitally-minded forerunner in the field, but mature consumers might distance themselves from the brand because of overexposure. Louis Vuitton is a heritage brand that moved from ads starring 20th-century titans like Mikhail S. Gorbachev and Francis Ford Coppola instead featuring video game characters and celebrities in their campaigns.

Louis Vuitton pop-up stores

LV Xiamen pop up store

In its strategic approach to the Chinese market, Louis Vuitton demonstrated its expertise and commitment to customer engagement with the pop-up store event in Xiamen, held from 5-12th June 2023.

At this event, the brand showcased the “LV by the Pool” collection, skillfully tailored to the tastes of Chinese travelers and fashion enthusiasts, merging luxury with leisure. This initiative went beyond showcasing new designs; it was an immersive experience designed to strengthen customer relationships and emphasize exclusivity.

Exclusive gatherings for VIP customers, special offers, and a fashion exhibition underlined Louis Vuitton’s strategy of creating memorable, personalized experiences that resonate with the local market. This event not only highlighted the brand’s innovative approach in China but also reinforced its commitment to delivering luxurious, culturally attuned experiences that extend beyond traditional retail.

Not Only Fashion: Louis Vuitton’s First Restaurant in China

Louis Vuitton recently ventured into the culinary scene with its first restaurant in China, “The Hall,” located in Chengdu. Nestled within a historic building over a century old, next to the new Chengdu Maison luxury store in Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li, the restaurant offers more than exquisite cuisine; it provides a dining experience steeped in history and style.

This strategic move is not just about expanding into the food industry. By choosing Chengdu, a city known for its affluent residents with a taste for luxury, Louis Vuitton is tapping into a unique market. “The Hall,” set in a location with historical significance to Cantonese traders, resonates with a local flavor, enhancing the brand’s appeal.

LV's the Hall - First Restaurant

The restaurant serves dual purposes for Louis Vuitton. It enriches the shopping experience, making it more enjoyable and unique, and strategically reaches affluent customers beyond the major metropolitan areas. Additionally, the concept of combining dining with shopping aligns with Louis Vuitton’s digital strategy.

Engaging stories from “The Hall” shared on social media platforms like WeChat or Little Red Book not only enhances customer engagement but also drives online traffic and ultimately, boosts luxury sales. This integration of dining and retail exemplifies Louis Vuitton’s innovative approach to expanding its presence and connecting with consumers in China.

Louis Vuitton Partnership with JD

It’s been announced that LVMH and e-crossborder platform J.D have come to partner up, resulting in the fact that the brand will have its Mini Program directly accessible from the JingDong (JD) product pages to further its e-commerce entry into the Chinese market.

Louis Vuitton does not plan to sell its products via JD.com’s platform, instead, the users are redirected to the luxury brand’s Mini Program to confirm the transaction. With this new partnership with LV, JD is creating an unprecedented Omnichannel model to provide a “seamless eCommerce experience”.

Partner with Gentlemen Marketing Agency

Navigating the Chinese luxury market requires expertise and nuanced strategies, as seen in Louis Vuitton’s success. Gentlemen Marketing Agency offers this expertise, tailoring approaches to resonate with local trends and consumer behaviors.

Why Gentlemen Marketing Agency?

We specialize in customizing strategies for the Chinese luxury market, ensuring your brand thrives in this vibrant landscape.

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Our Services

  1. Digital Marketing Expertise: Mastery of platforms like WeChat, Weibo, Little Red Book, and Douyin to enhance visibility and engagement.
  2. Market Entry and Expansion Strategies: Guidance through regulatory navigation and local partnership formations.
  3. Cultural Adaptation and Localization: Tailoring your brand to align with Chinese culture and consumer preferences.
  4. E-commerce Solutions: Strategic online presence on platforms like Taobao, JD.com, and Tmall.
  5. Influencer Collaborations: Leveraging our network of KOLs and influencers to expand your reach.
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For luxury brands targeting the Chinese market, partnering with Gentlemen Marketing Agency means tapping into a wealth of local knowledge and innovative marketing solutions. Contact us to explore how we can drive your brand’s success in China, mirroring the achievements of leading luxury names.

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