Network Aims To Provide Luxury Brands With Intelligence, Strategy And Engagement
This month, the New York and China-based private network Affinity China, which provides access to lifestyle and travel opportunities for its ultra high net worth Chinese members (previously on Jing Daily), announced the launch of its new division, China Luxury Network (CLN) at an inaugural symposium at New York’s Core Club. Recognizing the growing presence of Chinese outbound tourist-shoppers in major destinations like Paris and New York, CLN aims to provide global luxury brands with market intelligence, strategic advice and possibilities for engagement with China’s emerging luxury consumer both inside and outside of the country. Considering mainland Chinese consumers made more than half of their luxury purchases last year overseas, understanding and taking full advantage of tourist and consumer trends is becoming an industry imperative.
According to CLN’s first report, released earlier this month, the rise of individual tourism among wealthy Chinese is a key trend that luxury brands can’t afford to ignore. The report found that group travel from China — which has defined Chinese outbound travel since its first stirrings in the 1980s — is now on the wane, as 72 percent of China’s outbound tourists now prefer individual “high-end” travel experiences. “In order to meet the more sophisticated needs of Chinese outbound tourists,” the study concluded, “global brands now, more than ever, need to be attentive to insights into China’s fast-emerging luxury consumers.”
Understanding not only what well-heeled Chinese tourists want to buy on their overseas trips but when they travel is another “must” for global brands and retailers. At CLN’s inaugural symposium, three major “exoduses” of Chinese outbound travelers were highlighted: Chinese New Year (January 23 – 25), China Labor Day Holiday (May 1 – 3) and China National Day Holiday (October 1 – 3). While it’s important for brands and retailers to be prepared for Chinese tourist-shoppers year-round, as they should be for shoppers from around the world, these times of year are key, as they are when the bulk of Chinese overseas luxury purchases are made. Remarking on the importance of understanding annual travel and consumption trends, Sage Brennan, co-founder of China Luxury Network, said, “Reaching the Chinese consumer is not just about launching retail locations in China. Chinese consumers have gone global, and expect brands to recognize their preferences and treat them appropriately.”
Naturally, this entails a deeper understanding of the many types of Chinese travelers who currently combine tourism with shopping sprees. Said Brennan, “Luxury brands need to understand the nuances of each consumer segment, and tailor their marketing, digital and in-store experience towards attracting, educating and converting each unique consumer segment,” adding, “The key to better serving this emerging consumer group lies in understanding their needs and motivation.” Going through the several segments of Chinese luxury shoppers, from sophisticated jet-setters to aspirational buyers saving up for months for a single item, CLN partners pointed out that brands need many strategies for successfully tapping Chinese consumers, depending on their geographical origin, educational and professional background, and income level.
In addition to releasing proprietary research reports and helping prestige brands interact more directly with Chinese luxury consumers inside China and overseas, China Luxury Network plans to organize several invitation-only conferences throughout the year.