US fashion does not sell well in China – unlike other foreign brands, from Italy, France and the UK, Chinese consumers see US brands as lacking cachet.
Is the problem a fallout from the poor state of US–China relations, or one of poor marketing? The consensus among industry observers is that marketing is the core problem.
US brands have failed to adapt to the Chinese market, reports the South China Morning Post (SCMP).
And to turn things around they need to start leveraging the huge popularity of live streaming and mobile platforms.
Another answer is to find new enthusiasts through Streetwear fashion, which originated in the US and is often driven by deliberately making products scarce and so highly sought after.
Gu Xiaofeng, a fashion marketing director who splits his time between California and Shanghai, told the SCMP, “European brands enjoy the advantage of their historic heritage and being perceived as iconic.
“And many of them are also doing a great job of being adventurous and innovative.” By comparison, American brands play it safe, and so risk being seen as boring, Gu says.
The Chinese market changes so rapidly, brands must take risks to succeed. “If brands only stay in their comfort zone, they will struggle to stay relevant,” Gu adds.
One simple adaptation US brands could make would be to make their presence felt far more on social media, in particular the likes of Weibo, WeChat and Little Red Book, the SCMP reports.
This is where European luxury brands have made a great deal more effort to stand out and win market share. Another key move would be to appreciate that China’s market has evolved in its own way, for example consumers skipped the computer phase and went straight to mobile. The US market is behind in other ways, too – Amazon has only now started live-streaming, which is already huge in China.
Crucial for success, too, is for US brands to make use of their own unique advantages. And, while US fashion may not be able to match the chic luxury of Italian or French brands, nor the classic tailoring and creativity of young UK brands, they do have cool, street culture on their side.
Here Gu Xiaofeng sees obvious potential. “As streetwear fashion takes a central role in fashion, America being the birthplace of such culture has a unique appeal to the Chinese market,” he says.
“American brands should step up and own this category – hip hop culture and pop music continue to gain in popularity among Chinese Gen Z consumers. Really, they have a lot going for them – they’re not using it to their advantage yet,” Gu adds.
Sourced from SCMP