Montblanc Entered China Market Early And Has Expanded Aggressively
Like many other European brands that entered the China market relatively early, such as Audi, the German manufacturer of high-end writing instruments and accessories Montblanc has seen first-hand the emergence of a sizable number of wealthy consumers there over the past couple of decades. Considering Montblanc’s key demographic is middle-aged men, and middle-aged men remain the defining force in the Chinese luxury market — although it is, gradually, becoming more female- and youth-driven — it’s only taken about a decade and a half for China to become Montblanc’s largest (as of 2008) and still fastest-growing market.
This week, Montblanc CEO Lutz Bethge spoke to China Daily about his company’s success in the Chinese market and his plans for future growth there. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Montblanc’s ongoing efforts in China will likely follow the “huge flagships in top-tier cities + more locations in second- and third-tier cities” strategy being employed by other brands like Zegna, Ferragamo and Bulgari. From China Daily (via People’s Daily):
Montblanc has 98 stores in China, compared to 34 in the US. Its total number of stores in China is likely to hit 130 over the next five years, said Bethge.
The Montblanc store in the Citic Building on Shanghai’s Nanjing Road is the largest of its 400 stores in the world, but Bethge said an even larger outlet will open in Beijing next year.
India, where Montblanc is the top luxury brand, has also been a fast growing market for the company, but Bethge said he does not expect India to surpass China in sales.
The company is making its biggest investments this year, both in advertising and large stores, in China.
As Bethge went on to point out, watches and pens are the most popular Montblanc products among Chinese customers, but leather and jewelry items are also catching up.