Home / Knowledge / News / Fashion / China “too big to ignore” for luxury brands
China “too big to ignore” for luxury brands
May '16
Despite being battered by sluggish consumer spending and rising online shopping, luxury brands should look to China as for fresh strategies and solutions, according to Alibaba Group President Michael Evans.

“One only has to look at China today to glimpse the future,” Evans said at his keynote speech at the Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit in San Fransisco on Tuesday. “The country is leapfrogging brick-and-mortar retail. Shopping is not only happening online, it's happening principally on mobile.

“The brands that embrace the opportunities of the digital economy will be the winners,” Evans said.

On the face of it, Evans' statement may seem strange as an economic slowdown and a government anti-corruption crackdown has taken a toll on sales of high-end products. China's overall luxury market fell 2 per cent to 113 billion yuan ($17.2 billion) last year, driven by a decline in watches, men's wear and leather goods, according to global management consultancy Bain & Co.

But Evans maintained that the Chinese market, representing one-third of the total global luxury market, is “too big to ignore”. And while offline luxury sales have stagnated in recent years, online sales grew more than 50 per cent globally last year.

According to a report by KPMG, 45 per cent of China's online luxury shoppers now buy most of their high-end goods online. Half of China's domestic luxury consumption will be generated online by 2020, KPMG predicts.

“The Chinese conception of luxury is Western luxury,” Evans said in a Q&A session following his speech. “The products they want to buy are big brand-name products, almost of which come from Western countries. Their focus today are the brands that they can see on the Internet.”

Luxury retailers can adapt to this changing landscape by integrating their offline and online sales channels and figuring how to best connect with consumers through digital technology, Evans said, noting that “brands have been cautious to embrace the benefits of the convergence of online and offline.”

“Today's global consumers are making full use of social media, mobile search and payment apps for most of what they buy, both offline and online,” Evans said, adding that this applies not just to China but also to consumers in Southeast Asia and India. No longer content to shop exclusively in physical stores, consumers want a seamless, digital-enabled, multi-channel experience which requires a different type of engagement by brands, he said.

Evans pitched Alibaba's giant online shopping marketplaces as a direct route to the Chinese consumer and a key source of data on consumer behaviour that can inform brand strategies and help them connect with more customers.

Tmall.com, Alibaba's B2C shopping website, hosts the virtual storefronts of scores of international brands including Apple, Burberry, and Estee Lauder, offering retailers control over pricing, branding and merchandising; delivery and returns; and data that supports all critical decision-making. “Brands maintain control over the entire consumer experience,” Evans said. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

Must ReadView All

Apparel/Garments | On 26th Oct 2016

SGS develops 4C chemical management model for apparel

SGS, a leading inspection, auditing, certification, testing, and...

Textiles | On 26th Oct 2016

Platinum Equity acquires International Textile Group

International Textile Group (ITG) has been acquired by Platinum...

Textiles | On 26th Oct 2016

Whitehouse & URI Business Centre start RI textile network

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and the University of Rhode Island...

Interviews View All

Manfred Mentges
Sedo Treepoint GmbH

We see a higher demand in colour management systems, as customers see big...

Ghanshyam Ghoghari
Kimora Fashion

Bridalwear is not about reds and whites anymore

Sunil Kumar Sharma
Loknayak JPNSSSG Ltd

'The blend of cotton–linen yarn has high demand in the domestic and...

Paolo Ocleppo
Sandvik Hyperion

Paolo Ocleppo, Rotary Cutting Segment manager, Sandvik Hyperion discusses...

Iago Castro Asensio
RCfil Distribuciones S.L.

Iago Castro Asensio, International Business Manager of RCfil...

Lynda Kelly
Suominen Corporation

Suominen Corporation is a manufacturer of nonwovens as roll goods for...

Igor Chapurin

"Now we can see the Russian trend in international fashion. And Russian...

Judy Frater
Somaiya Kala Vidya

Among the many honours showered on Frater, including Fulbright and Ford...

Tony Ward
Tony Ward

"You have to truly understand what your client wants, know her needs, what ...

Press Release

Press Release

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Submit your press release on


Letter To Editor

(Max. 8000 char.)

Search Companies

October 2016

October 2016

Subscribe today and get the latest update on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel and so on.


Browse Our Archives


Advanced Search