In China, luxury must bridge the gap between digital and physical like never before | Marketing
During the nearly two-year COVID pandemic, virtually every digital refractor in the luxury industry has dismissed suspicion of e-commerce and digital marketing, especially in China. Today, Tmall Luxury Pavilion – the luxury-centric portal of the Chinese e-commerce giant – claims to host the official showcases of more than 200 brands, including illustrious names like Hermès, Cartier, Saint Laurent and Gucci which, there are was just a few years old, seemed unlikely to embrace mass e-commerce.
Meanwhile, despite a continuing crackdown on celebrities and the hyper-influence ‘fan economy’, luxury brands continue to sign largely Gen Z brand ambassadors who include legions of native fans. that constantly interact with brands (and other fans) on national platforms like Douyin, Bilibili and WeChat. Yet, an interesting phenomenon emerged in China during the COVID pandemic, whereby offline events and physical retail have arguably become Following important for luxury brands, both as a point of contact with the consumer and as a sales engine.
Face-to-face events picked up in China relatively early. In August 2020, Louis Vuitton was among the first luxury brands to host a large-scale event, in its case an outdoor parade that bridged the gap between online and offline via a high-profile livestream and press on social networks. Soon after, Prada hosted an exclusive site-specific event at its Prada Rong Zhai space in Shanghai in collaboration with filmmaker Jia Zhangke, who saw around 2,000 VIPs pass through the venue over two days of exhibitions, conferences and parties.
Since then, in-person events have fully returned as a key marketing vehicle in mainland China. For brands, this boils down to two very practical reasons: a worsening of the COVID situation in key markets like Europe and the fact that Chinese buyers – largely unable to do international shopping this year – are spending significantly more in national luxury boutiques despite Xi. The intensification of Jinping’s “common prosperity” push.
In the year 2021, brands have increasingly looked to experience offline events in China, going beyond simple catwalks and incorporating trends like immersive theater. In the case of Valentino’s fashion and theater collaboration with Sleep No More Shanghai in September, nearly 70% of guest customers made purchases before the event.
More recently, we have witnessed a series of offline luxury events that indicate an evolution in physical and digital marketing approaches in China, including the Louis Vuitton Spring / Summer 2022 Women’s Fashion Show and the “Art ‘N Dior’ by Dior, both held in Shanghai.
With the recent Shanghai installment of its Spring / Summer 2022 women’s fashion show, Louis Vuitton has shown that it remains one of the best in its class in terms of online and offline marketing in China, balancing the traditional premium qu ‘it grants lavish and exclusive events with the democratizing effects of live streaming and social platforms. In the wake of the collection’s premiere during Paris Fashion Week, the Shanghai runway – adorned with dozens of ornate chandeliers – managed to deliver something unique to the local public, in its case 19 products designed specifically for the Chinese market.
The strategy worked. According to Louis Vuitton, the event’s livestream was viewed a total of 158 million times on Weibo, WeChat, Tencent Video, Douyin, Kuaishou and OTT. A few days later, Chinese media noted that the Shanghai fashion show video had finally racked up over 100 million views, while the Weibo hashtags #LV 春夏 22 女子 秀 # (Louis Vuitton P / S 2022 Womenswear Show) and #LV 大 秀 # (grand salon Louis Vuitton) have been used nearly a billion times in total.
Taking the road to fashion and art, Dior’s sprawling ‘Art’N Dior’ exhibition, which launched this month at the West Bund Art Center in Shanghai, has made sure to include a strong component digital to support its collaborations with national artists such as Wang Yuyang, Li Songsong and Zhang Heng. For the event, Dior also collaborated with Chinese tech giant Huawei to create the virtual reality film “My Cherry Blossom Land”, providing attendees with a more immersive interactive experience.
Like Louis Vuitton, Dior also opened up the experience to a home audience, making the film available for viewing on the Huawei Video app, Huawei VR Video app, and Huawei VR headsets. Despite a small controversy online over the photos of Beijing-born photographer Chen Man exhibited at the event, to date the # ART’NDIOR campaign hashtag has garnered over 600 million views thanks to numerous backers from celebrities.
The key for luxury brands in China last year was to successfully (and safely) host offline events that they couldn’t host elsewhere. But as 2022 approaches, Chinese audiences are used to attending luxury events in real life, vicariously through livestreams, or – as in the case of “Art’N Dior” – VR. This means that brands must now rethink what it really means to be successful at an event. Does that mean pre-event sales, in the vein of Valentino x Sleep No More Shanghai, long-tail video views in the vein of Louis Vuitton’s P / S 2022 women’s fashion show, or pushing technology from? envelope like Dior’s Huawei collaboration?
The answer will depend on the brand, its willingness to experiment and invest, and potential applications globally. Although China is the fastest growing luxury market, it is only a matter of time before other key markets catch up and consumers have very similar demands from brands. that they follow.