Before the development of China having a child is common and plenty. For most families, dressing up in new clothes was a once-in-a-year event during Chinese New Year to welcome in a new year. In today’s world children’s fashion is a big presence in the clothing market, children and more importantly parents actually care what their children are wearing on the playground.
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Children’s Wear Market in China
Booming Kids Wear Market
China’s Kid’s wear market has already caught the eye of manufacturers from every corner of the world. Foreign brands are already taking advantage of the market with plenty of kid’s clothing line in China.
As stated by China National Textile and Apparel Council, this market has doubled its size from 2006 to 2010, reaching ￥69.33 billion. And it shows no sign of slowing down.
The population of Chinese kids under 16 years old has exceeded 300 million. With the new baby boom from 2011 to 2021, the projected number will surpass 400 million.
The estimate projected figure for 2015 is ￥140 billion.
Why the China kids wear market
China kid’s wear market seems to be a promising market according to number figures, but how about the real consumers? Would the parents be willing to pay?
China’s deep-rooted family-centered culture puts kids as the nucleus of the whole big family (the “4+2+1” Family Mode, including 4 grandparents and 2 parents caring for one child). Cutting spending on kid’s wear will be the last to consider even in a deteriorating economy.
Because grow-ups, who have experienced a childhood where they have no access to nice clothes or material items, especially those who experienced the Mao era of no material possessions, they are more eager to buy quality clothes for their kids or grandchildren to give them something they were never able to possess as kids.
And according to a report from Qian Zhan, in about 80% of families, parents spend more on their kids than on themselves. One of the only reason for parents to refuse to buy clothing for their kids is because they don’t find quality clothes that catch their eyes.
As a result, kids wear clothing with a strong recognizable brand, style, comfortable fabric, foreign elements and a luxurious image catches parents attention.
How can companies attract parents into dressing their kids in their brand?
In modern-day China, all the parents want their kids to be someone better than others from how tall they are to what clothing they wear. They want their kids to win competitions in everything from the very beginning. With the new capitalist China everyone is no longer equal, so parents hope to show off their wealth by displaying it on their child. Even between kids, the show off consumption trend has already begun.
Most young parents now are obsessed with work. Parents feel guilty for not spending enough time with their kids, so to make up for their guilt they want to compensate their kids in material wealth. Buying them new clothes is a quick and easy fix for parents.
Most parents today were born after 1980. Because of the one-child policy, most of them are the only child in the family and also enjoyed the achievements of China’s fast development. Compared to their parents, the quality of young parent’s childhood was much better. And they would like to continue to give the same to their kids.
Compared with western parents, Chinese parents have more special days to celebrate for their kids such as the 30th day and 100th day. There are dozens of these kinds of special days depending on the different region of China. During these days, clothing has become a must-have on the gift list.
Unlike hyper-fierce competition in clothes market for adults, there is still no dominant brands for kid’s wear yet, most new players joined this game starting from 2010. And there have been many companies with small or even no brands in this business.
On the other hand, many big names in clothing business from luxury brands like Burberry, Armani Junior, Dior and FENDI to mass market brands such as Zara, H&M and GAP, even home appliance giant Haier, have penetrated into China’s children wear market.
If a product has no strong brand image, it will be probably driven away by the giants.
Even after surviving the competition with big brands, you are still not safe. Copiers have already are eager to follow with similar designs for a fraction of the price.
The efficient way to brand kids wear
Official entities and online store
Now in China, more than 90% of companies sell their kids wear in official stores.
Another trend that needs noticing is that almost all of the brands are increasing their budget in the online store building. No matter foreign brands or local brands, they all open stores on their own website or on some E-commerce platform like Taobao or Jing Dong.
Today’s young Chinese parents are living in a fast-paced society and an online store matches their lifestyle very well and offers customers an official platform to get information.
Some companies already harvested the result. According to Royal Sonny’s estimation, its online sales this year will be 150% more than last year, reaching ￥50 million in 2012 compared with ￥20 million in 2011.
The percentage of citizens in Chinese young parents is increasing. The Internet has been an important part of their life. Digital marketing has already become the trend of kids wear.
They know where they can get information about what they want online. What kids wear maker should do is to put information on where they visit in an appropriate way.
The website, SNS and Meilishuo (China Pinterest focusing on dressing) have been the most popular platforms to promote kids wear online.
The brand war in the future
The situation of China kidswear market is quite similar to adults’ wear market 5 years ago. Too many companies are competing in this market, but no brands can dominate the market.
Now is the time for those with a strong brand image to win because the customers are already prepared to buy their kids better brands, higher quality and more luxurious.