According to reports by local Italian publication Fashion Network, Milan’s most luxurious shopping district claims to be the first retail area in Europe to launch an official WeChat account. The city’s famous Quadrilatero della Moda – or Via Montenapoleone fashion district – is the core of luxury shopping in Milan and hosts over 150 high-end brands.
The account was created by Italian digital marketing company Retex S.P.A, the parent company of Digital Retex, who became WeChat ‘s official European partner in 2016. In order to create a dedicated channel for Chinese consumers and tourists, users will eventually be able to purchase services and make online payments through WeChat Pay, helping Quadrilatero della Moda to expand its consumer base in China.
The Montenapoleone District WeChat is now active, however, at the time of publishing, there is currently no content on the account.
According to a May report by tourism tax refund company Global Blue, from 2016 to the first quarter of 2018, Chinese consumers’ tax-free shopping demonstrated a marked growth in the Quadrilatero area: 31.2 percent in 2016, 33.4 percent in 2017, and 33.5 percent in the first quarter of 2018. The overall tax-free shopping amount by Chinese consumers in Italy also showed rapid growth, accounting for 30.5 percent of Italy’s shopping tax refund in 2018, compared to 29.6 percent in 2016.
Retex S.P.A CEO Fausto Caprini emphasizes the importance of Chinese luxury shoppers worldwide, “Chinese consumers can be seen as a ‘benchmark’ in the fashion and luxury industry, accounting for about 30 percent of global consumption,” according to a Luxe.co report.
Alongside Milan, other luxury districts in Europe have considered the need to utilize WeChat to expand their Chinese consumer base. London’s New West End CEO Jace Tyrrell explained in April that, “Our aim is within the next 18 months 50 percent of all the luxury stores in the area will be making mobile payment solutions. Lots of the top brands almost have WeChat Pay in place.”
Despite this, according to Secoo/Deloitte’s China Luxury Report, 64 percent of Chinese 20 to 30-year-olds still prefer to shop for luxury at traditional physical stores. As reported by McKinsey, in 2017, only eight percent of luxury sales by Chinese consumers were purchased exclusively online, however, 70 percent of all sales were influenced in some way by a brand’s online presence.