What are the top things the Chinese consumer is looking for when shopping for bras?
Hello. Thank you for your Wonder request on the top things that Chinese consumers look for when shopping for bras. The short answer is that Chinese spending preferences are similar to the Western world, with choices influenced by quality, price and brand names. Chinese consumers prefer a well-blended fusion of Western and local style. With the highly fragmented market and a generation of affluent Millennials, there is a great opportunity for international brand names to enter the Chinese market. Below, you will find a deep dive to my findings.
Chinese consumers, particularly those who are interested in lingerie, are the young generation who grew up during China's reform and opening. They have been exposed to all sorts of ideas that the modern world has to offer. They are attracted to the western lifestyle and see traditional Chinese designs as a representation of the old world that they are trying to break away from.
Chinese consumers feels that most of the products and displays look too similar. There is no real differences in the brands. Experts say there is definitely a lack of innovation in the domestic market. The average bra size in China is 34B which is much smaller than European and American markets, and as of now, international brands, like Victoria's Secret, don't offer products specifically for the Chinese market. Online shopping is also becoming increasingly prevalent, offering greater privacy and access to international brands. 73.5% of online shoppers are Millennials between 20 and 39 years.
According to a 2015 study, the underwear industry in China is valued at $25.5B USD, which is a 65% increase from 2012’s $15.5B. The women’s lingerie market is equally successful, which sales nearly doubling from $9B in 2012 to $17.9B in 2015. The current compound annual growth rate for the lingerie segment is estimated at 14.8%, which slightly outpaces the underwear industry.
Another feature of the Chinese underwear industry is its distinct market fragmentation, which presents an opportunity for more international brands to enter the market. No brand has more than a 4% market share, and the top 5 brands by market share are Chinese. This fragmentation represents the lack of innovation in the market, with most bras aimed at the mass market instead of a distinctive customer base.
Similar to the Western world, Chinese women are concerned about the price, comfort, fashion style, and customization of their bras. Communication campaign and advertising campaigns also play a part to reach out to a large audience. Chinese women are much more modest and conservative compared to Western women who enjoy sexy, transparent lingerie and nightwear. Most successful designs are those that have Western influences mixed with their own patterns and style preferences. Chinese consumers are investing in looking good and want to buy high quality, imported underwear. Also, Chinese consumers tend to not buy one piece. Instead, they spend hours in a store to purchase the entire “look”.
IMPORTANCE OF CHINESE CULTURE
Understanding Chinese culture is paramount to penetrating the Chinese market. Traditional Chinese culture is very superstitious and attributes certain attributes to each color. The most popular underwear colors in China are red and baby pink because these colors symbolize prosperity.
In the old Chinese perspective, underwear was seen as a necessity and not a fashion item. Millennials view traditional Chinese designs as conservative and are drawn towards Western imports. However, they still respect their cultural roots and that has direct impacts on the market. For example, Victoria's Secret insulted millions of Chinese when they sent a supermodel strutting down the runway wearing a lingerie depicting a sacred dragon. The color of bras marketed and purchased is an important factor for consideration when entering the Chinese market.
The Chinese underwear market, specifically in women’s lingerie, is growing rapidly due to changing consumer needs. The Chinese are becoming increasingly responsive to fashion trends, and there is a growing demand for luxury, imported brand names from the West.
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