Whether the fashion lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret can successfully break into China’s lingerie market is an open question, but its upcoming annual fashion show, which the brand has announced will take place in Shanghai on November 28 (its first show in China), is set to be a hit among Chinese consumers.
Tickets to the invite-only event are being sold on China’s biggest e-commerce platform Taobao, according to the domestic media outlet Sohu. The prices start at 90,000 yuan (around $13,700), which could, in the alternative, get you several luxury designer handbags on the platform. The following image shows that the invitation to the event will be shipped from the United States to China. This seller has six tickets.
When the brand was reached for comment, it told Sohu that attendance to the show is by invitation-only. Thus, there are no publicly available tickets.
Authenticity of these tickets is not verifiable, but the sale demonstrates just how enthusiastic Chinese people are about the Victoria’s Secret’s Fashion Show among Chinese consumers. Its popularity is also evident on social media. Over the past few weeks, the country’s online community has had heated discussions about the selection of supermodels. When fashion bloggers posted on Weibo that familiar faces including Liu Wen, Ming Xi, He Sui and Ju Xiaowen, would strut on the Victoria’s Secret runway again, internet fans cheered.
The Weibo community is also buzzing about the decision to cast Bella and Gigi Hadid in the Shanghai show. Some Chinese fans are protesting the appearance of the two models because the sisters were caught on Instagram mocking Asians.
By the time of publication, the topic “2017 Victoria’s Secret Shanghai Fashion Show” had reached 70 million views on Weibo.
Over the past year, Victoria’s Secret has gradually stepped up its efforts to cash in on the Chinese consumers as the growth from its traditional Western market has been flagging. In May of this year, the brand’s parent company L Brand reported a loss of seven percent of net sales to $2.4 billion from $2.6 billion the year before. The brand’s net revenue also dropped dramatically. It fell by 38 percent from the year before to $941 million.
China, on the other hand, is a lucrative market that Victoria’s Secret sees a lot of potential for. According to official data by the China National Textile Industry Council, the sales in the lingerie market in China reached 100 billion yuan in 2016, and the size of the market exceeded 60 billion yuan.
Victoria’s Secret’s annual fashion show has become the brand’s secret weapon to market to Chinese consumers. In 2016, the brand put a record number of four Chinese models on its runway, and the theme of the show paid tribute to traditional Chinese culture. Even though the show was criticized for having elements of cultural appropriation (one model, Elsa Hosk, was sent down the runway with a dragon on her back), the show still attracted many viewers and inspired much discussion among its Chinese fans.
This year, the brand has continued to bet on its fashion show as a calling card to reach even more Chinese consumers and lure in sales to its newly established flagship store in Shanghai. In addition to hosting the show in Shanghai, it will enlist even more Chinese models. Whether the social media buzz about the show can truly translate into sales is yet to be seen. After all, lingerie culture is still remarkably different in China than it is in the West.