The scarves category remains a strong category in the luxury and fashion world. The Chinese market remains a land of opportunities for CEO and Marketing Directors who want to target a new market. But when brands are trying to enter the Chinese scarf market, they always see resistance from local brands. Where do these forces come from and how can brands stand out in the Chinese scarves market? China is the cradle of silk and silk scarves. The key for your brand will be to find out your real leverage in China and use the right strategy to promote your brand.
- 1 Latest Insights about the Chinese Scarves Market
- 2 Things you Have to Know about Chinese Scarves Customers
- 3 How to Market my Scarf Brand in China?
- 3.1 Turn your Product into a Nice Gift
- 3.2 Build your Online Reputation: Who Are You?
- 3.3 Xiaohongshu: The Best Social Media for Luxury & Fashion Goods
- 3.4 KOL Campaign: Not Only your Product But Also your Outfits
- 3.5 Baidu SEO: You Need to be Visible on the Top 1 Search Engine in China
- 3.6 E-commerce Makes Your Sales Easier with Tmall Global Features
- 4 GMA: Professional Marketing Agency for your Brand
- 5 Selected GMA Case Studies
Latest Insights about the Chinese Scarves Market
The Sales Volume of Scarves is Higher in China
Scarves have a huge market volume in China. According to the data from the National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBS), the Chinese scarf market has a scale of 250 billion CNY (33.9 billion EUR) in 2022. This market volume was boosted by 2 factors:
- The strong manufacturing power of textile products
- The high demand for scarves products
A research by Statista in 2019 shows that clothing and accessories (including scarves) are the third most purchased luxury goods in China with a 44.6% acceptance rate.
China is the Biggest Export Country of Scarves
Although the Chinese scarf market volume is huge, entering the Chinese market is still not easy for scarf brands. This is because the manufacturing volume of scarves has exceeded the market volume. In 2020, China exported around 1.01 billion USD in the scarf sector, ranked first in the world. But the import of scarf products to China has only 127 million USD which is far less than the export volume. Brands need to be always clear that their competitors are not only other brands entering the Chinese market but also a huge amount of local brands.
What are the Top Countries for Imported Scarves in China?
Knowing who is currently winning the Chinese imported scarf market is important for brands who want to join this market. The following countries and regions are currently exporting the most scarves to mainland China:
- France: 56.2M USD
- Italy: 52.9M USD
- Hong Kong: 2.76M USD
- United Kingdom: 2.45M USD
- India: 2.07M USD
From this survey, France and Italy are the winners in the game of imported scarves exports to China. On one side, it shows that the origin of French and Italian scarves matters to Chinese consumers who see it as a unique selling point (USP). On the other side, you can see that promoting your scarf as French or Italian manufacturing will increase the trust of consumers in China since they value the high-quality of these items.
Things you Have to Know about Chinese Scarves Customers
What are the Preferred Scarf Materials in China?
The mainstream scarf materials in China include cotton, cashmere, silk, rayon, acrylic, and polyester. Among these materials, cotton, cashmere, and silk are always seen as better quality since they are natural materials with a premium touch. These 3 materials also have different personal value for Chinese consumers:
- Cotton is considered as Warm, Non-luxury, Daily use
- Cashmere is considered as Warm, Luxury, Fashion & Daily use
- Silk is seen as Decorative, Luxury, Fashion
Chinese consumers consider these materials from different perspectives including the function, price, and scenario. Based on the material used in your collection, you will position your scarves assortment with different storytelling and advertising. Proposing scenes in China with the use of your products will help local consumers incorporate your scarves into their daily outfits.
How Western Brands can Succeed in China, the Birthplace of Silk?
Silk was first invented by ancient Chinese people 5,500 years ago, which made the luxury image of silk deep in the Chinese culture. For silk products, the material, craftsmanship, and design are the top 3 important factors.
What is a good symbol of high-quality silk material? Purity is the most important one! The purity of silk is seen as the most important factor in China because pure silk is hard to produce and is more precious. Many brands are claiming their product is made from pure silk, but not many are really using 100% pure silk in their products. The touch, luster, and appearance are also important factors forming the quality of silk products.
Craftsmanship is also important for silk products. Since silk is always hard to work on, the manufacturing technique has a huge impact on the final quality. Silk is seen as a very meticulous material in China, so letting your customers know how good your brand is in the craftsmanship of silk can help with your brand image.
Finally is the design, very unique factor that shows the diversity of silk brands. Imagine competing with local silk brands with good material and craftsmanship, your design can be an important leverage to distinguish your brand from your competitors. Silk scarf is different from other silk products, it is connected with fashion design rather than touch and material. Underlining your design is a way to addnvalue on your products.
Pure Natural Material is Always Better than Man-made Material
Chinese customers always prefer pure natural material in their selection of scarves. Handmade materials such as rayon, acrylic, and polyester are usually seen as low-quality and cheap products. You can tell this by knowing how Chinese people call these man-made materials: “Chemical fibers”.
Many brands are used to mix a low percentage of these man-made materials in natural materials for better performance such as a scarf of 96% of cotton and 4% of polyester. Although this action is for a better wearing experience, it can be a disadvantage in the Chinese market.
How did Hermes Win the Chinese Scarf Market?
Regardless of the long history of silk and scarf in China, the modern silk scarf was actually started from the western culture in the mid-age. Hermes found the blank area of the western silk scarf culture in China, and they played a nice card on it. The Hermes Silk Knots app is a free app teaching their customers how to wear and tie their scarf with step-by-step tutorials and styling ideas. This move did a perfect market education and built up their brand image in the scarf sector.
Scarves are Ideal Gifts for Partners, Families, and VICs
In Chinese culture, a gift is something very important to deliver emotions like caring, respect, gratefulness, etc. But it is also widely used in business relationships to give or return a favor. This created a strong demand for high-end luxury gifts for business use, they need something luxurious, something that can fit most people, something widely recognized and can be bought repeatably. Luxury scarves became one of the best choices.
Luxury scarves, especially from big brands such as Hermes, are very common business gifts. They are well known, and easily recognized for their value, and you can always buy different scarves as gifts. What made it even better than other luxury products is that you don’t even need to know the size! All these features made luxury scarves an ideal option for a business gift, especially for female objects. Many Chinese companies are buying many luxury scarves as their stock of business gifts, this boosted the demand for luxury scarves with a repeating frequency.
Related Article: Hermes Scarves Have Become a Common Gift in China
For non-luxury scarves, it’s still a good option as a gift for friends or family. Chinese people have the habit of buying and wearing new clothes and other textile accessories when celebrating the Chinese New Year. While this most important time is always in the winter, a scarf becomes a good gift to their family.
How to Market my Scarf Brand in China?
Turn your Product into a Nice Gift
When so many Chinese customers are buying scarves as gifts, brands should make sure their scarf is a nice gift. The packaging, brand image, and promotion in festivals are very important. We don’t recommend over-packaging, but good-looking packaging does add value when customers are looking for a gift. Providing gift boxes/bundles with specially designed packaging is a solution in the middle.
Your brand image is also important because when customers are buying gifts from a brand, they need it to be a good brand. Even if your brand is not widely known as a newcomer in the Chinese market, your online reputation should be really positive. Otherwise giving a gift from an “unknown” brand can’t be a wise action and might make them lose “face”.
Of course, gifts are always linked with festivals in any region. So your promotion should be always connected with different festivals. In 2022, you should pay attention to both Chinese and Western festivals with a selection of the proper ones. One additional group of festivals is also important: Sales festivals. There are multiple Sales festivals created by different e-commerce platforms including 3.8, 6.18, 11.11, 12.12, etc. These Sales festivals with lots of promotions are also great chances to buy gifts, so brands should always pay attention to all of these festivals.
Build your Online Reputation: Who Are You?
For brands, the online reputation can be simply described as “Who are you?”. This is the question your customers want to figure out before making their purchase. To make sure your online reputation is positive, you need to appear on different platforms where your customers might search for scarf information.
Your available tools in China:
- Baidu SEO
- Social media (Xiaohongshu, Weibo, WeChat, etc.)
- E-commerce review (Taobao, Tmall, JD, etc.)
- Undercover marketing (Zhihu, Baidu Tieba, etc.)
Xiaohongshu: The Best Social Media for Luxury & Fashion Goods
If a scarf brand wants a social media to spread its name in China, Xiaohongshu is the No.1 option. As the key social media for the fashion and luxury industry, it is very commonly used when someone needs some information about scarves.
Introducing Xiaohongshu: One of the Chinese mainstream social media with 200 million monthly active users. According to the Xiaohongshu user data from CBN Data in 2022, 70% of the users are female, 72% of them are younger generations, and 50% of them are from first and second-tier cities.
Promoting your brand on Xiaohongshu is a way to show your brand to your core audience. Building up a positive brand image and encouraging positive sharing of experience can greatly convince your customers when they need a push to place an order.
KOL Campaign: Not Only your Product But Also your Outfits
There are too many KOLs talking about how good a product or a brand is. When too many brands are doing the same promotion with their similar scarves, what can help you stand out?
In 2022, more and more customers are no longer putting emphasis on a single product, but paying more attention to outfits. Cooperating with fashion or lifestyle KOLs on how to make an outfit with your scarf is a smart way to attract your customers.
According to the data from Qiangua Research, the Top 1 tag on Xiaohongshu is #Fashion lovers#, counting for 19.6% of their users, while 8.96% of them are focusing on outfits.
Baidu SEO: You Need to be Visible on the Top 1 Search Engine in China
People might not be always searching for your brand name on the internet, but when they search for it, you should always pop up in the first place. This is done really well by most brands, but some might miss the fact that what they did on Google is useless for Chinese customers.
In China, Google has been banned for years, so no matter how good your brand is working on Google SEO, it’s not working in China. It is time to invest in Baidu, the No.1 Search Engine in China for better visibility. More than just SEO, you can also use Baidu Baike (The Chinese Wikipedia) for your brand or Baidu Zhidao for the QA campaign. Taking good advantage of Baidu can help you get visible in the Chinese market.
E-commerce Makes Your Sales Easier with Tmall Global Features
When we are selling in China, e-commerce is always something we cannot ignore. The major e-commerce platforms in China include Tmall, Taobao, and JD. Some social media like Douyin, Xiaohongshu, and WeChat are also acting as e-commerce platforms now. Carefully picking your sales channel can help you boost your sales and even e-reputation.
E-commerce is also making your distribution easier. By working with a TP (Tmall Partner), the only thing you need to do in distribution is to send your stock to the storage. When a customer places an order online, your TP will take over the logistics part from the storage to your customer.
GMA: Professional Marketing Agency for your Brand
GMA is an experienced marketing agency based in Shanghai. With more than 10 years of cooperation with hundreds of brands, we are confident in supporting your brand to grow in China. We know marketing, we know China, and we know how to reach your demand. Contact us for a first consult, and win the Chinese market in the next years.
How Can GMA Support You
Starting from a nice chat about your brand and your demand, GMA specialists will discuss with you their professional opinion. We can start with market research so you can know your audience and your competitors in China better. Based on the result, we will carry out a marketing strategy that fits you the most. We provide 360°services for your success, from social media to e-commerce, GMA is your one-for-all solution.
Professionals in Branding and E-commerce, ROI Focused
The thing GMA focus on is your ROI because we always want our clients to meet their demand with the best result. As professionals in branding and e-commerce, GMA always provides you with the most suitable solution for your own good. We are not only working for your short-term benefit but also your long-term brand image in China.
Welcoming our new chapter in GMA: the establishment of the Luxury Division. Directed by Anaïs Bournonville, an experienced marketing expert with deep knowledge of Luxury. With her on-the-ground understanding of the Chinese market, your brand will be fully supported. Don’t hesitate for a free call, and contact her for your China project!
Selected GMA Case Studies
Hermes is the quintessence of luxury. Since 1837, the luxury brand remains loyal to its saddler history and its exceptional know-how. The quest for beautiful materials and the artisan model is at the heart of Hermes’s uniqueness. All around the world, it is the luxury brand that better stands the test of time. In China, the success of Hermes no longer needs to be demonstrated.
Hermes contacted GMA because they needed to better understand the specificities of Chinese consumer behavior outside of China. Our agency was contacted by the luxury brand to gather and share several insights on Chinese cultural specificities and trends.
Louise Misha is a French designer brand that advocates an art of living, values, and principles at the center of which the human being fits naturally. Louise Misha is a hand stretched out towards a fashion that raises awareness of its responsibility at each level of its development. Far beyond the production of simple clothes, the brand works to imagine a free and independent fashion, a fashion that conserves resources and a fashion that is committed to raising awareness.
- Ongoing Campaign
- KOL Campaigns
- The build-up of an online distribution network
- Create of social media account and daily operation
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