What Happened: Fitness, but make it fashion. On the heels of China’s Labor Day holiday, Hermès has launched exercise tutorials on its WeChat Mini Program to promote its latest accessories. The luxury brand recorded four yoga videos, ranging from 13 to 21 minutes long, showing consumers how to incorporate its belts, square scarves, small leather goods, and hats into their routines. For example, belts can be used to stretch and perform breathing exercises, while silk scarves can act as a balancing aid. These clips build upon Hermès’ “Start the movement” marketing campaign, which launched in February, and offer viewers “an invitation to be an everyday athlete with elegance and agility.”
The Jing Take: Luxury flexing its athleisure muscles isn’t new. With the sportswear market predicted to reach $231.7 billion by 2024 and the pandemic accelerating the trend of at-home fitness, brands have increasingly tapped athletic giants to revamp their marketing strategies. Over the past year, Dior released retro-style kicks with the Jordan brand; Louis Vuitton dropped another NBA capsule; and Gucci teamed up with The North Face for a site-crashing collection that saw great success in China.
What’s surprising here, however, is Hermès’ approach. Rather than launching an actual fitness line or collaborating with names like Nike and adidas, the luxury house is simply taking its classic offerings and reimagining them in sports-related settings. This not only helps change consumer perception of the aloof, storied brand, but also cleverly emphasizes the quality and practicality of its products. Moreover, with Hermès’ silk business seeing the largest decline at the end of 2020, down 23 percent, and its accessories sector falling 9 percent, leveraging the wellness trend to highlight these specific products should also help stimulate sales.
Already, Hermès touched on this fitness concept in its AW21 show, featuring contemporary dancers weaving through towers of orange boxes. Perhaps this goes to show that the new way to get consumers spending is to get them up and sweating.
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.