This year had it all. From brand-related missteps in China to yet another new group of social influencers — KOCs, anyone? — and a host of dire warnings for Western luxury brands. Reporting on China’s complex and rapidly evolving luxury ecosystem was unpredictable in 2019 — and it hasn’t slowed down yet. It started early with Burberry’s rather ill judged Chinese Lunar New Year campaign, which set Chinese social media ablaze, and continued with an endless roll call of disruptions, economic uncertainties, and astute insights into China’s ever-increasing importance to the global luxury market.
Below, Jing Daily’s top 5 articles for 2019. For more of our 2019 year in review analysis, read on here.
Last January, Burberry’s Chinese Lunar New Year campaign attracted a blitz of criticism on social media from a vast number of Chinese netizens who likened it to an Asian horror movie. Burberry’s family portrait, an extended family centered around their grandmother, appeared anything but celebratory. While decked out in Burberry’s signature items, the family looked more intent on offing their ultra-rich matriarch than enjoying a festive holiday moment. Read more.
In September, Daniel Langer wrote about the importance for Western heritage brands to understand the changing landscape of what luxury means in China. Where once everything was focused on the product itself, today, due to a host of market changes — disruptions, if you will — heritage is no longer enough for brands. If they want to stay relevant with Chinese millennials and Gen Zers, they need to center themselves around them, provide them with value, and perhaps most importantly, redefine themselves as providers of luxury experiences. Read more.
Last April, Jing Daily revealed key takeaways from McKinsey’s “How Young Chinese Consumers Are Reshaping Global Luxury” report, which looked at the habits and behaviors of the world’s most significant luxury consumers. Despite the current economic uncertainties, McKinsey was confident about the pivotal role that China will continue to play in the global luxury market going forward — especially the country’s rising upper-middle-class households, which they believe will be the backbone of future growth. Read more.
In October, Tamsin Smith introduced KOCs (Key Opinion Consumers) to the Jing Daily global readership. Until recently, the title of “influencer” in China was attributed only to celebrities in their own right — singers, actors, and industry professionals who advertised products in partnership with luxury brands. Enter the KOCs, mainly everyday consumers whose value is based on their relatability and trustworthiness, and whose entire focus is on product reviews. And given the soaring costs of popular KOLs, KOCs make an ideal alternative for smaller brands stepping into the Chinese market for the first time. Read more
In China, fashion houses pay celebrities and influencers huge sums to wear their clothing and sport their logos. So when popular influencers like Angelababy and Yang Mi give a brand free advertising by wearing their T-shirts on the street, it’s big news. It’s also adorable, since the brand in question was Peppa Pig, a cute cartoon pig with 800 global licenses and responsible for 1 billion in annual merchandise sales. It also spurred counterfeiters in China, some that entwined the pig with brand logos from Dior and Supreme. Even more, as Peppa’s popularity grew, Chinese state authorities tried to crack down on the proliferation of Peppa as an anti-establishment icon. Peppa, it seems, is a brat from a well-off family that’s disrespectful to its elders — clearly not a role model Chinese state authorities want to promote. Read more.