In “Chinese Whispers,” we share the biggest news stories about the luxury industry in China that haven’t yet made it into the English language.
In this week’s edition, we discuss:
- Luxury brands’ red envelope designs spark online discussion,
- Prada’s Lunar New Year campaign stirs criticism, and
- The loss-making Japanese department stores.
1. Influencers and consumers compare luxury brands’ red envelopes for Year of the Pig – OFashion
For many years, creating designer red envelopes for Chinese Lunar New Year gift-giving has become a tradition for luxury brands. Red envelopes, or hongbao (红包), contain monetary gifts and are traditionally given during holidays and special occasions in China.
This year, a slew of big-name brands once again put a luxury spin on red envelopes to celebrate the Year of the Pig. Many influencers and VIP consumers who received envelopes from brands shared them on social media, sparking a lot of online discussions. For example, users said Louis Vuitton‘s design was “neat and concise,” Hermès‘ was “cute,” while Givenchy‘s was “so-so,” and Saint Laurent‘s was “a bit boring.”
2. Prada’s Chinese New Year campaign wasn’t festive enough? – Jiemian
Italian luxury brand Prada‘s 2019 Lunar New Year campaign drew similar criticism as Burberry from Chinese consumers, Chinese media outlet Jiemian reported on February 3. The campaign video titled “Prada My Character” went live on the brand’s Weibo account on January 13, dedicated to celebrating Asian youth culture during this special occasion.
Some social media users felt the tone of the video was gloomy and lacked a cheerful element. However, there are also many consumers defending Prada, claiming those critics are being overly culturally sensitive and that they lack the ability to appreciate high fashion.
Some profitable high-end Japanese department store companies like Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings and Takashimaya reported a doubt-digit year-on-year decline in their January sales as a result of China’s crackdown on daigou shoppers following the implementation of a new E-commerce Law in January.
According to an analysis by Winsang, an e-commerce-focused Chinese publication, a decreasing number of Chinese daigou shoppers making purchases at these stores have had a highly negative impact on their sales growth, even though the country overall experienced an influx of Chinese tourists last month.