What Happened: Winter is coming, and it is Canada Goose’s time to shine. The performance luxury brand, best known for its puffer coats, is launching a line of high-tech shoes on November 12, marking its entry into the footwear category. To start, there will be two styles: the Journey Boot, which is made for hiking, and the Snow Mantra Boot, designed to withstand the coldest temperatures in the world.
This marks the latest step in the company’s “Beyond the Parka” strategy, which has seen the outdoor apparel maker adding knitwear and fleece to its offerings over the last few years. Moreover, the acquisition of footwear label Baffin in 2018 should now help Canada Goose accelerate its shoe production capabilities as it positions itself as a full lifestyle brand.
The Jing Take: With China’s winter sports market heating up ahead of the Beijing 2022 Olympics, there’s no better time for this release. Not only has the government invested over $139 billion (900 billion yuan) in the sector over the past three years, but it is also pledging to raise the number of winter sports participants to 300 million by next year. As such, Canada Goose’s luxury boots should find a home among the country’s increasing winter sports-loving consumers.
However, growth in China is not without its challenges. Earlier this month, Canada Goose was fined $71,000 for false advertisement after claiming to use “the warmest material from Hutterite,” even though most of its products are made with other materials. “Canada Goose probably hasn’t carefully studied China’s law and ignores changes in the Chinese market,” wrote state media. “The moon isn’t rounder in foreign countries, and foreign down jackets aren’t warmer.” Although this backlash is unlikely to dent sales, it could drive Chinese consumers further towards domestic brands, with international goods no longer seen as better quality.
Besides ruffling Beijing’s feathers, there are also other apparel rivals to worry about. Prada, for one, recently launched its winter “Prada On Ice” collection in Beijing, while Chinese sportswear giant Anta tapped Chinese-American freestyle skier Eileen Gu in March for its “Keep Moving” campaign. Therefore, if Canada Goose wants to keep dominating China’s winter sports arena, it will need more than a footwear drop to boot out the competition.
The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.