link.png Do luxury brands need to rethink the Lunar New Year?← Back

 

Today, one of the biggest annual celebrations of the Chinese calendar, the Lunar New Year, kicks off, thereby marking the beginning of the Year of the Monkey.
 
Over the past few years, luxury brands have tapped into this annual event as they made the most of a booming Chinese market. However, this time, it’s become apparent that a slowing Chinese economy is having an impact: as Chinese consumers become more cautious about spending their money, brands need to increase their efforts if they want to continue targeting this customer base.
Previously, luxury labels capitalized on the event by producing popular limited edition zodiac-themed collections. However, even though many brands continued down this route for 2016, there’s starting to be a backlash: a significant number of users of the app WeChat criticised the monkey-themed products created specifically for the New Year by brands such as Louis Vuitton. In other words, there’s a shift happening in the way Chinese consumers are thinking about their luxury purchases.  
 
As luxury labels need to move away from being too obvious, it’s clear that using digital platforms is one approach that can offer better opportunities. In a ‘2015 China Luxury Market Study’ published last month, management consulting firm Bain highlighted the fact that luxury brands need to increase their digital strategies to target Chinese customers. Apps such as Weibo and WeChat, which are very popular in China, are particularly effective for reaching consumers. Indeed, the survey found that almost 80% of participants find out about luxury labels on either the internet or apps such as these. In fact, according to Bain, “a full 60 percent identified social media channels Weibo and WeChat as their online source for information on luxury goods.” Some brands have already realised the potential held by digital: this year, for example, Burberry used WeChat to market its New Year products, whilst luxury department store Selfridges has been using the Weibo app. 
 
These changes indicate that European luxury brands are going to have to adapt if they want to carry on capturing the attention of Chinese shoppers – could this be the end of luxury zodiac-themed goods?