China’s Gen Z, Kidults Fuel Luxury x Anime Collabs In 2023

What Happened: In March, over 50 luxury brands launched 500 collaborative pieces inspired by Japanese anime characters on Tmall Luxury Pavilion, according to Alizila, Alibaba’s news platform.

Launched globally on February 14, the Jimmy Choo x Sailor Moon collection is now available to shop on Tmall Luxury Pavilion. Photo: Alibaba Group

Among them was Jimmy Choo, which joined forces with shojo manga (girls’ comic) Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon for a capsule that included Swarovski crystal-studded boots, pumps, and handbags in the iconic colors of the crime-fighting schoolgirl characters. Another was Chloé, which partnered with Sanrio’s loveable bunny icon My Melody to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit in style.

The Jing Take: It’s no secret the mainland is full of anime fans. Just last weekend, the Japanese anime film Suzume celebrated a $50 million opening box office in China — the biggest start for a non-Chinese film this year — making it the ninth highest-grossing anime feature of all time.

And this love for anime is not confined to Asia. Once considered a subculture, the genre has taken over streaming services and box offices around the world; more than half of Netflix viewers worldwide consumed some anime content in 2021. According to Maximize Market, the global anime market is expected to grow from $24 billion in 2021 to $50.5 billion by 2029.

Given this voracious appetite, several brands that have collaborated with anime intellectual property (IP) have been successful. When Loewe dropped its capsule with Spirited Away in 2022, fans crowded outside the brand’s New York City flagship store, crashed its website, and caused resale prices to skyrocket. Similarly, when Montblanc teamed up with Naruto Shippuden for a series of leather goods last year, the sell-out rate was reportedly as high as 90 percent.

Loewe and Montblanc are two luxury brands that have collaborated with anime IP within the last year. Photo: Loewe, Montblanc

Given that the price point of these collections is often in the thousands, this trend points to the growing influence of the “kidult” economy. These consumers use their grown-up money to spend on items intended for children or inspired by childhood nostalgia, and are responsible for one-fourth of all toy sales annually, according to NPD Group. In China, the kidult demographic has also given rise to a booming collectible toys market — a category that grew 82 year-over-year in 2022 on

With Gen Z representing the fastest-growing demographic on Tmall Luxury Pavilion, heritage luxury brands looking to stay relevant in China should not shy away from playful IP. Manga and anime are only becoming more mainstream, and the right pairing could lead to enhanced cultural capital and a blockbuster success.

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.


Collabs and Drops, Consumer Insights, Fashion