China’s Luxury Market Is Changing At Lightning-Fast Speed. Is Your Brand Ready?

China market entry specialist Courtney Harold delivers a presentation at China in Context, a seminar hosted by Jing Daily and China Luxury Advisors on November 14, 2013. (Jing Daily)

China market entry specialist Courtney Harold delivers a presentation at China in Context, a seminar hosted by Jing Daily and China Luxury Advisors on November 14, 2013. (Jing Daily)

As China’s luxury consumers become increasingly sophisticated, globalized, and diverse, it’s up to brands to adjust their marketing strategies to the rapidly changing pulse of the market. Yesterday, Jing Daily and China Luxury Advisors hosted China in Context, a half-day seminar packed full of information on how to do just that.

Within China, consumers’ changing taste, the growth of lower-tier cities, and the rise of e-commerce are all making major transformations to the luxury landscape. Expert panelists Courtney Harold, a China market entry specialist, Lina Lee, an emerging market strategist, and Michael Zakkour, principal at Tompkins International used their years of on-the-ground China experience to discuss business strategies for adapting to these changes. Topics discussed with moderator Renee Hartmann, co-founder of China Luxury Advisors, included the need to “think globally, act regionally,” according to Harold, marketing strategies for first-, second-, and third-tier cities, the importance of full commitment to the China market, ways brands can differentiate themselves amongst heated competition, how to adapt to the shift away from bling, which Lee described as an “inevitable” transformation, and much more.

In addition to changes within the China market, one of the most profound transformations is the rising globalization of the Chinese luxury consumer. Although the market’s growth rate may be slowing this year at home, Chinese travelers are expected to continue to spend abroad at a growing rate. In light of this, the event featured a talk with Jim Prince, the senior vice president of ImmixRed, the largest network of Chinese tour guides in the United States, and moderator Sage Brennan, co-founder of China Luxury Advisors. Prince’s talk focused on what he’s been observing in terms of Chinese customers’ changing retail tastes, as well as tips for his four main requirements to achieve sales success with the outbound Chinese tourist market: brand, location, local network, and conversion. “The very best in class focus on all four of those factors,” he said.

In order to gain direct insights from Chinese consumers, the event’s most unique and innovative panel format was a mini focus group of Chinese students, who candidly discussed a wide range of topics including their personal social media and brand preferences, their shopping habits, their opinions on the best (and worst) recent marketing campaigns by brands, the ways in which they influence and are influenced by family and friends, and more. Two main takeaways from this panel included the fact that WeChat is essential for a comprehensive social media marketing strategy, and luxury stores in the United States need to step up their game in making Chinese customers feel welcome and valued. Attendees also had the opportunity to ask the panel questions relevant to their own business strategies.

Featuring luxury professionals from top global luxury brands, the seminar offered a wealth of insights into the Chinese consumer and advice on global best practices for influencing this vitally important customer segment. If you weren’t able to make it or aren’t based in New York, don’t worry: Jing Daily and China Luxury Advisors have several upcoming events. We will be hosting two webinars: one on December 11 entitled “Chinese New Year Marketing” and one on January 15 entitled “WeChat vs. Weibo.” Whether you’re in China, Europe, North America, or anywhere else in the world, we hope you can join in. 

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