More Affordable Jeans Range To Target Younger Consumers, Cost US$40-60
Earlier this year, Levi Strauss & Co. announced that it was working on a new sub-brand designed to target Asian markets like China, where its jeans — priced in the $100 range there — remain beyond the grasp of a significant proportion of the country’s lucrative 20-40 age demographic. Initially targeting younger consumers in China, Singapore and South Korea, Levi’s officially launched its new brand, dENiZEN, on Wednesday at a press event in Shanghai. According to Terence Tsang, the head of dENiZEN, this marks the first time Levi’s has launched a new global brand outside of the United States, marking the company’s entrance into the roster of other major brands that are going the extra mile to woo Asian — particularly Chinese — consumers.
As the FT points out, not only will the dENIZEN (a play on the words denim, citizen and netizen) line cost about half as much as the Levi’s line — priced in the US$40-60 range — it is also specially designed to compete with local and international competition based on fit. The line will include a number of fits most popular with Asian buyers, particularly slim fit.
dENiZEN will inhabit an interesting niche in the still-young Chinese market, where, at $40-60, it’s more expensive than local brands yet a fraction of the cost of major designer brands. According to Aaron Boey, president for Levi Strauss’s Asia-Pacific division, the brand is geared towards China’s “new group of consumers” who are value-conscious yet still hung up on brands. Unlike other recent China-focused campaigns like Hermes’ Shang Xia, an independent sub-brand that is set to launch next month, dENiZEN fully promotes its Levi’s connection, likely in the hopes of convincing thrifty middle-class shoppers to opt for its jeans rather than buying other foreign brands like H&M, Uniqlo or Zara.
As Max Magni, a partner with consulting firm McKinsey & Co., told Daily Finance, the moves by companies like Levi’s, Hermes and even major automakers like BMW or Mercedes-Benz to localize their products or create new sub-brands with the Chinese market in mind have never been seen before to the current extent. “We are dealing with 1 billion people with income per capita growing exponentially,” said Magni. “Chinese consumers are not brand loyal, but they are brand conscious. They are trying something new all the time.”
The first dENiZEN store will launch in Shanghai later this month.