Tastes of Chinese customers are changing, their preferences drifting towards Australian fashion trends.


Fashion is influenced by the nature that has created it, and by the styles prevailing in the society. China's fashion and retail sector is getting influenced by Australian trends. There had been a cultural exchange between Australia and China since the 1800's when silk embroidered shawls, and surcoats from China were brought into Australia. Australian women wore clothes made of velvet, georgette, and chiffon, the patterns inspired by Chinese clothing styles. Having acquired a living memory in the wardrobe of Australian women, today the trend is reversing with the Chinese customers getting the Australian fashion inspiration.


Australia has a typical fashion style that discriminates it from other styles such as European fashion. Their clothing style is comfortable with a casual attitude. China is the worlds biggest apparel market, and a biggest garment exporter. Apparel market in China witnessed a drastic growth in the past decade, and its huge market size is attracting international brands. It is also one of the hottest markets, with more number of young millionaires. Among the apparel brands seen in the Chinese market one third is of foreign brands, one third is of brands whose production is taken for lease by international companies to domestic Chinese manufacturers. The remaining one third is of counterfeited products with duplicate trademarks.


Getting a leg up in the Chinese market:


Despite the fact that China's market is lucrative, demography of the dragon nation is considerably variant making the market penetration a hard nut to crack. Global brands need to adopt multicultural marketing, and in-depth knowledge of the local culture. The following factors play a crucial role in entering into the market.




 

  • Cost of doing business in China so as to determine the time frame to get the return on investment.
  • The size of population so as to determine the intensity of competition.
  • Employment rate which will give an indication of the customer spending.
  • Size of the market and market fragmentation to determine the number of states, and the levels of retail.
  • Business barriers such as culture, language, tax, quotas, tariff, etc.


Brands in China:


Renowned fashion brands from Melbourne such as; Leonard Street, Kuwaii, Lui Hon, Cylk, and Limedrop showcased in Beijing. This was the first time Australian designers had a show in China. Luxury brands have started migrating towards Chinese social networking sites such as; Baidu, Yanex, and YouKu. Luxury malls in China are witnessing drastic growth. Big brands such as Dior, Zegna, and Burberry continue to expand their business in China. Brands like H&M and Zara are already in the arena with kimono dresses. These brands have the advantage that they appeal to mall operators who are looking forward to differentiate their products, and come up with an exotic product mix. Smaller and independent brands seeking entry into the Chinese market need to adopt the strategy of getting into partnership with a domestic player.


China's Customer:


Fashion apparels are defined by color, fabric, cut, pattern, clothing type, styles, and interpretation of looks. China's customer of today prefers exquisite clothing. They consider it as a status symbol, and an expression of their personal self. Their clothing choice is an expression of their liveliness, not just as an external elegance, but also an internal symbolism. They are also brand conscious, and give more preference buying apparels with an international label. Their clothing choices vary significantly from that of the Europeans.


Customer expectations in China are going through a transformation. Increasing amount of disposable income, dual income, and sociological changes have brought about a difference in their lifestyle going with the Western influence.


 

With global brands entering the Chinese market, customers are getting more conscious about their brands. Their expectations go beyond the basic clothing requirements of protection and warmth, looking for social and aesthetic values. A research report states that 60% of the surveyed customers expressed their opinion to buy branded apparels. On an average, Chinese consumers buy approximately 600 different branded apparels including both domestic and international. Some of them also believe that foreign brands are better than domestic brands.


Increasing interest of the fashion savvy Chinese consumers in buying branded apparels and their income level further boosts the sale of global brands. The increasing demand for branded apparels in the Chinese markets have invited the attention of international brands who have taken their initiatives to inculcate their brand image in the minds of the Chinese consumers. Australian fashion labels have set their eyes on China. If they adapt to the preferences of Chinese customers, brands can seize future sales opportunities.


References:


1.      Thefashiontank.com

2.      Australia.gov.au

3.      Luxurydaily.com