What Happened: After a considerable hiatus, Chanel returns to China to stage its Cruise 2024 collection in Shenzhen on November 2. This marks the house’s first large-scale event on the mainland since its “Mademoiselle Privé” exhibition in Shanghai in 2019. Before that, Chanel showcased its replica runway 2016 Métiers D’Art, in Beijing in 2016 and its repeat show Cruise 2018, in Chengdu in 2017.
The Cruise 2024 runway show debuted in Los Angeles on May 9. In a recent statement, the maison explained why it chose the Chinese tech hub for its latest presentation: “As China’s capital of design, innovation, and high technology, this destination, open to the world, creation, and the future, is the latest of many stopovers made by Chanel cruise collection.”
The Jing Take: The choice of Shenzhen should not surprise. The city is home to some of China’s largest technology companies. In April this year, the tech hub ranked eighth worldwide on Forbes’ list of cities with the most billionaires. It surpassed Singapore.
In late 2021 during the midst of the pandemic, Chanel opened its first boutique in Shenzhen’s Nanshan District, where Chinese tech giants including Tencent, ZTE, and Da-Jiang Innovations (DJI), are headquartered. The replica cruise show, first staged in Los Angeles on May 9 this year, underlines the French label’s commitment to connecting with local young and well-off residents.
According to the seventh national census in 2020, Shenzhen is the Chinese city with the youngest population. The average age of residents is 32.5 years old. In 2022, disposable income per capita was $10,230 (72,718 RMB). The city’s job opportunities make it an attractive destination for ambitious youths to start their career path, making it a goldmine for brands looking to engage millennials and Gen Z consumers.
In its most recent earnings report, released last month, the APAC market, including China, was the biggest contributor to Chanel’s 2022 annual revenue. Revenue from Asia jumped 14.3 percent year on year to $8.65 billion, nearly double the figure for Europe. Sales in the American market increased by 9.5 percent YoY to $38.6 billion. The report also shows that in 2022, Chanel’s marketing expenses rose 14.3 percent YoY to over $2 billion.
Undoubtedly, with China retaining its key position as a major driver of sales growth, the luxury house will invest more in the country to engage local consumers with large-scale offline activations. But the question is: Will a replica excite them, or is it time for brands to create dedicated collections for the mainland to showcase the importance they attach to the market?
Novelty-seeking Chinese consumers have seen it all, and are more attuned to fresh brand injections than replays.
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.