Burberry Has All Eyes On Japan’s Rising Chinese Tourist Numbers

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Burberry’s Shanghai celebration of its Jing’an Kerry Centre store opening in April 2014. (Burberry)

After a year of solid China sales growth announced in Burberry’s year-end financial report released yesterday, the company reported that it is planning to amp up its Japan marketing this year with Chinese tourists in mind.

Although China’s luxury market remains in slowdown mode, Burberry logged 11 percent mainland China sales growth for the fiscal year ending on March 31. During this time period, the company’s China strategy included extensive digital marketing and upscale brand positioning that included closing nine smaller stores and opening eight new boutiques in prime upscale shopping areas.

According to Burberry Asia-Pacific CEO Pascal Perrier at the company’s year-end financial presentation, the company created a “repositioned image” in China over the past year thanks to social media marketing, “key moments” such as major store opening events, emphasis of British heritage, and a focus on the brand’s iconic trench coat. Most recently, the company celebrated its new store opening at Shanghai’s luxe Jing’an Kerry Centre at the end of April with its “London in Shanghai” event featuring top Chinese and Western celebrities and models such as Carina Lau and Cara Delevigne. Last August, Burberry brought its “Art of the Trench” exhibit to Shanghai to spotlight the classic coat.

British models Suki Waterhouse and Cara Delevingne model Burberry's classic trench at its Shanghai event in April. (Burberry)

British models Suki Waterhouse and Cara Delevingne model Burberry’s classic trench at its Shanghai event in April. (Burberry)

Perrier stated that in the upcoming fiscal year, the company will be replicating its China repositioning in Japan’s luxury market. One of the main reasons for this, he said, was that the company sees “strong growing inbound tourism to Japan, especially the Chinese customer.”

Thanks to Japan’s weak yen, luxury shoppers have been flocking to Japan to take advantage of cheaper prices over the past year. Chinese travelers’ penchant for shopping abroad to avoid high tariffs at home has made them one of the top three highest-spending groups of tourists in Japan, along with those from Taiwan and South Korea, over the past year. Furthermore, Burberry has likely taken note of the fact that Chinese tourist numbers in Japan have returned to levels seen before China’s anti-Japan riots in August 2012.

The brand hasn’t forgotten Chinese tourists worldwide. It emphasized that its improved product fit and assortment, dedicated customer service, and social media marketing have helped to attract Chinese tourists across the globe. In addition, it has embraced e-commerce to a greater extend than many luxury brands in China with its bold move to open a Tmall shop a few weeks ago.

 

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