A Brief History of Luxury Brands Digitalization in China
We can break down 13 years of history of luxury brand’s digitalization in China into these stages:
- 2009-2011 Born of A Starlight: Burberry was one of the first few luxury brands embracing digitalization. It was a global sensation but more like a fearless revolution: Burberry opened its social website, the Art of Trench, to allow consumers around the globe to share pictures and stories associated with their lovely and always trustworthy Burberry trench coats. Meanwhile, they opened their official account under the same name on Facebook.
- 2012-2013 Rise of Weibo: This year, we saw luxury brands opening their official accounts on Weibo. This is the beginning of luxury brands interacting with Chinese consumers on their often-used local social apps.
- 2013-2014 The Year of Discovery: Following the rise of Weibo, the H5 campaign, and all kinds of social websites, luxury brands attempted to create more ways of interactions and even shopping experiences online. The punchline behind this move was that we saw luxury brands come to awaken and realize digitalization can print money.
- 2014-2016 Sad Beautiful Tragic with the E-commerce: To beat the dropping curve on their sales performance charts, luxury brands were tip-toe on opening their boutiques on Tmall or other third-party E-commerce platforms. Burberry, again, became the first to open its online stores on Tmall in April of 2014. However, after all, it was an unhappy marriage between a luxury brand and an infamous e-commerce platform, with Burberry dropping out due to the under-expected performance. But it was a beautiful story that moved many luxury brands to develop better operation plans and came back to e-commerce platforms again in 2016.
- 2017-2018 Madness of E-commerce: In this year, over 50 luxury brands opened their e-boutiques across social and e-commerce platforms. Luxury brands used their e-boutique to interact with young consumers and bring more traffic into their offline boutiques.
- 2018-today Wildest Dreams Came True: After short video platforms like TikTok, Kwai, and Bilibili were built into people’s life, consumers nowadays are more open to different forms of online shopping experiences. This pushes luxury brands to accelerate their speed on digitalization.
The luxury industry was very cautious and late to embrace digitalization. However, as the undeniable fact of solid momentum in the Chinese luxury market is laid on the table, luxury brands will have more resources and budgets for digitalization to keep digging into the potential of China market.