The Burberry Prorsum womenswear Autumn/Winter 2014 fashion show, which was live-streamed online and heavily promoted on Chinese social media. (Burberry)
Although China's government has announced record-low GDP growth and remains in the midst of an anti-corruption crackdown, British brand Burberry still managed to declare bright China sales growth for its second-half report released today.
With a 13 percent increase in global sales, the company said that Greater China led the brand’s “double-digit” Asia-Pacific growth. At a time when the likes of LVMH and Prada are still feeling the pain of both the crackdown and slowdown, we’re taking a closer look at some of Burberry's main China marketing strategies over the past year to see what it has been doing to hold the attention of China's fashionistas. Below, check out our list of five key factors which may have helped it gain the numbers some of its peers aren't seeing.
While many luxury brands have shied away from e-commerce and social media in fear of diluting their high-end image, Burberry has recognized the importance of digital marketing to China’s young, tech-savvy luxury consumers. The company has been active in utilizing Weibo and WeChat for creative campaigns, including the promotion of a live-stream of its London runway show in China on WeChat this past season. Last year, it heavily encouraged user engagement with social media campaigns surrounding its Art of the Trench exhibit in Shanghai.
Although luxury sales in China are slowing as Chinese travelers increasingly buy abroad to avoid high tariffs, Burberry just opened its largest Asia-Pacific flagship in Shanghai last week. However, the massive new location isn’t just about boosting China sales, but also about raising awareness of the brand among Chinese consumers who travel. According to a Financial Times quote by Carol Fairweather, Burberry’s finance director, “It’s all the investment we’ve put into China that is enabling this outperformance.”
Burberry's new store location at the Jing An Kerry Center in Shanghai. (Burberry)
With strong growth in China's beauty market, diversification into cosmetics has been helpful for the sales of many luxury brands in China. Burberry has been heavily promoting its fragrances in China, and launched its men’s Brit Rhythm fragrance with a huge Shanghai party in March.
One main question for foreign luxury brands in China is the question of how to preserve their brand’s heritage while also recognizing Chinese culture. Burberry has focused on finding a balance between the local and global in China by offering special Chinese New Year products and promoting with Chinese celebrities and models while at the same time touting its British heritage—the company hires British musicians for its China events and promotes its British identity with social media campaigns.