Luxury Brands Missed A Valentine’s Day Opportunity

What Happened: This year, Western Valentine’s Day date fell during China’s Lunar New Year Festival. Despite the clashing celebrations, citizens dug deep to show their love. As you would expect, jewelry, beauty, watches, and flowers were all popular Valentine’s Day gifts this year, as were food delivery orders, which were up significantly. The post-95s generation has become the most romantic group.

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Shoppers were out in person, too, despite the risks: Long lines formed outside the doors of Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci. On February 14, Beijing SKP launched a ten-times points event, which once caused some brand stores to sell out, and Xi’an SKP reported that sales exceeded 100 million yuan on the day — a three-year high.

Jing Take: While some luxury names released dedicated Valentine’s Day products and campaigns (Prada, Saint Laurent, Michael Kors and others), most brands felt the overlapping dates of CNY and Valentine’s Day were too confusing for shoppers. But, as sales indicated, this was a missed opportunity. By not localizing products, brands missed out on cementing connections with their fans on a day that has powerful emotional resonance.

Prada promoted is CANDY Eau de Parfum on Weibo for Valentine’s day. Photo: Prada’s Weibo

Gold was a top choice. According to JD.com, the number of gold bead necklaces (believed to bring good luck) and silver necklaces bought by female consumers for male counterparts saw an increase of 3.5 times compared with the same period last year. Additionally, the number of women’s karat gold necklaces and yellow gold pendants bought by male shoppers between the last week before the New Year and Valentine’s Day was also up 6.2 times.

But to fully understand this opportunity requires a closer look at the ‘who’ and ‘where.’ When it came to consumers of Valentine’s Day-related products like cosmetics, skincare, jewelry, and underwear, Guangdong, Beijing, Jiangsu, Sichuan, and Shandong were the top-five provinces and cities in terms of purchase volume. Meanwhile, Hubei Province had the highest sales increase, reaching 9.9 times the amount over the same period last year. Consumers who preferred jewelry mostly came from Tianjin, Inner Mongolia, and Shandong. Hunan joined Beijing and Shanghai as the top luxury purchasing areas, while underwear lovers primarily came from Fujian, Zhejiang, and Hainan.

But the good news is there are six different Valentine’s Day celebrations a year in China. So if you missed this one, 2021 still has five more opportunities to put a ring on it.

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.

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