Saturday, 25 April 2015

The Chinese fashion industry- their consumers and the millions to be made from them.

by Charlotte Povey

 China has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and it is fair to say there is lots of money to be made in this booming country. Chinese consumers have rapidly changed over the last few years, with the middle class having more disposable income from the levitations in salaries. A well-known fact is that social status in China is very important to consumers; this has meant that recently the fashion industry has benefited greatly from the new investments that Chinese people are willing to make.

The newly found consumers from the flourishing economy have taken a more sophisticated, mature approach when purchasing their garments; for them it’s all about good quality brands that they believe help their image. Most are willing to pay the prices for this.

However it’s not all-good news for the businesses of fashion; consumers have become ever more mistrustful and they examine every item they intend to buy within millimetres; they will not let one fault in quality past them. One thing that is rarely seen from Chinese consumers these days is the purchasing of products on line without seeing the end product first; they are highly put off from paying before receiving. In order to satisfy them, new third party platforms have been set up where money is only transferred into the seller's account once the buyer has specifically verified the purchase after delivery. Chinese consumers have notably become far more wary of where their money ends up. It is vital, in their opinion, that it enters the correct hands, for the correct reasons.

The respect for western brands is rising rapidly in china, especially for the high-end names. Chinese people love the idea of foreign products and the high quality they carry. Additionally the admiration the Chinese have for western-style life has meant that British and Italian products in particular are becoming more of an interest for the Chinese consumers. With brands such as Gucci and Prada being a notorious favorite.
In China, luxury comes with a high price, this means that they are more willing to splash the cash when on vacation as designer clothes in Europe are thought to cost 40% less than they do in China. We can even see that these investments the Chinese are making within Europe include the housing industry, as well as the fashion industry.

For companies marketing to the Chinese consumers it is key to know the history and culture in order to understand how the buyers work.  For example large fashion companies with a prestigious and elegant history are particularly appealing to these consumers. One other aspect Chinese consumers appreciate hugely from high end brands is ability to connect through social media. China is a progressive country and when fashion labels connect with buyers over the Internet it gives them a personal touch they find attractive. Through effective social media it is easy to keep consumers loyalty. Data records have shown that by the end of this year online retail sales will hit $540 billion just within China. This is due to the introduction of e-commerce platforms and third party platforms that have been introduced to most online retail stores. Chinese consumers increasingly expect to find platforms when purchasing online.

To make it into the fashion industry in China it is important to understand the digital world that Chinese find so important, the e-commerce platforms they expect to be using within the online stores, the personal service they appreciate and the western style they admire. If all these aspects are understood and fulfilled, a convincing fashion brand should have no excuse not to be thriving in China’s economy today. 

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