What Happened: Niche affordable luxury brand Mansur Gavriel announced it is entering the China market at the end of this month. It will now offer its signature bucket bags along with new collections through a WeChat Mini Program boutique and a retail outlet in Beijing’s high-end SKP mall.
Mansur Gavriel was founded by Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel in New York in 2012 and released its first handbag in June 2013. Its bucket bag immediately found phenomenal success online, with celebrities, bloggers, and influencers who took to Instagram feeds with the fashion piece. Within two months after the release, the collections were sold out. Mansur Gavriel was one of the first affordable brands to rely on social media to popularize products. Since then, the strategy has been adopted by many contemporary brands and is the marketing tactic of luxury brands too.
The Jing Take: Mansur Gavriel’s cautious and conservative approach towards China’s dynamic market has seen it miss the opportunity to expand in China’s vast retail landscape. The local market is now crowded by smaller emerging international brands, like Manu Atelier, Yuzefi, and Staud. Fashion savvy consumers have long been spoiled by a wide selection of affordable handbags. As a result, they have developed little loyalty towards particular names. Competitor BY FAR, founded in 2016, swept the handbag sector with its underarm bag and quickly expanded its market shares in China through setting up online flagship stores on main e-commerce platforms (JD, Tmall, and WeChat) and collaborating with local influencer Grace Chow.
At this delayed stage, Mansur Gavriel has missed the boat somewhat and does not have the advantage to regain local consumers’ interest; extra marketing efforts are expected. Times have changed and most of the brands recognize the past influence of social media winners Mansur Gavriel. But to stand out in China’s crowded market it needs to work on creative content to appeal to distracted young buyers.
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.