There was a strong demand in the clothing market for children in China over the last few years. In 2018, the sales revenue of children’s wear in China reached 209.1 billion yuan and was forecasted to grow up to 261 billion yuan in 2020. Like many other childcare-related products, the children’s apparel market is booming in China.
Indeed, many factors can explain this development: the improvement of household purchasing power, the lifting of the one-child policy, the growth of the country.
In this article, we will introduce you to the Chinese ready-to-wear children market in and we will explain to you how to market a brand.
Sell Kid Clothes in China: Chinese mothers are your target
Called “hot mamas”, in Chinese 辣 妈, they are the new generation of post-90s mothers. Hot mamas think, buy and raise their children very differently from previous generations. A 2018 research conducted by the China Business Network on the behavior of the latter during the purchase phase shows that:
- When they need advice, they turn to their peers rather than to their parents;
- They look more to the safety and quality of the product than to the price;
- they love to buy high-quality products through cross-border e-commerce. A Chinese Mum Spend 2million RMB on her Baby Birthday
Born during the digital boom of the country, hot mamas form their communities and consult each other through dedicated apps or through groups on WeChat.
Market research on social media allows us to understand that hot mamas love to dress in similar clothes to their children: “the mini-me trend”.
The huge growth in the children-clothing segment
The children’s ready-to-wear market in China is one of the fastest-growing segments. Compared with the annual market growth of 6% of the clothing sector in general, the kidswear segment is growing by more than 9%, demonstrating that the market is developing well.
Indeed, the renewal of children’s clothing is stronger than that of men or women. The purchase for children is repeated more often than for the other two segments.
The ready-to-wear market for children can be divided into three categories:
- Baby clothes: which is and will remain the subcategory that will achieve the biggest growth
- Girls’ clothing: the second growth segment in the market given higher prices than in the boys’ segment and a higher purchase frequency.
- Boys’ clothes.
Analysis of China kids clothing market trend and demand
The more children grow, the greater the demand, and the need for clothing. In the baby segment, buyers are looking for safe and comfortable products for the benefit of their children. By the age of three, expectations are different. Parents will favor products that will convey the good taste and individuality of their children. This change in expectations and needs and mainly due to the social development of the child who will begin to engage in an outside life with his peers. The need for differentiation strongly influences their purchases.
Foreign brands have a real advantage over the target of 3 years and more since this need for differentiation plays a lot in the purchase of these brands. Indeed, many parents visit the websites of foreign brands to buy products across Asian borders and give a unique image to their children.
Chinese consumers are generally fond of foreign brands as they are a guarantee of quality and originality with regard to fashion.
Distribution networks: the online and offline worlds are both important
The strong attraction of consumers to physical stores is justified by the fact that many of them prefer to have a concrete image of the product. Product testing is a concept that is still important in this marketplace. Some consumers may prefer to go to a store to view the product, touch it before purchasing. The sensory dimension strongly influences the segment.
Nevertheless, the growth of online commerce opens new doors for the players since it is considered as an extension of sales formats in multi-channel distribution strategies. The digital sphere also allows brands to expand their presence and increase their visibility in a market that is becoming increasingly saturated.
The online channel represents a real opportunity for the players since the sales represent 4 million of the turnover of the segment. In this segment, Tmall (50%), and JD.com (20%) hold 70% of the market. These are the two major players in e-commerce in China.
The complementarity of these two distribution methods becomes a differentiating tool for brands and an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage to reach the consumer throughout his customer journey.
How to market your kids’ clothing brand in China?
Here you have the opportunity to embark on a market whose growth potential is not going to stop so early. In order to develop your business in the China market, many steps await you and do not think that transposing your model into China will be enough.
Here are some tips for setting up and promoting your brand in the market.
The most important steps in the ready-to-wear market for children are:
- Build your e-reputation and a good brand image;
- Communicate with your target audience;
- Find a good distribution channel.
Develop your kids’ clothing brand’s e-reputation
You have to capitalize on the digital trend in the country. For this, your online marketing strategy is very important. The Chinese are consumers that are always connected with their digital environment. Do not forget that this environment is completely different from the one we know in Europe. You must create your presence in this new universe.
Social media have a strong impact on the purchasing decisions of Chinese people. The country is known for having the largest network of Internet users in the world, representing 914 million people.
The social platforms will be relevant to your strategy since consumers, in our case parents, are influenced by the recommendations of friends or family in the purchase of products.
In order to build a good e-reputation you have to:
- Have a Chinese website on Baidu, the Chinese most used search engine, that shows your credibility;
- Work on Baidu Seo and Sem to rank in a good position on Baidu;
- Do PR: it consists of having an authority profile talking about your company. It can be media (newspapers, blog..), KOLs, or even community;
- Use forums and Kols, the equivalent of our influencers, to talk about you.
Use WeChat and Weibo to communicate with your clients
WeChat is the window to the social world of China. The application has more than 1,08 billion active users every month. WeChat has become an extension of the person in China. The platform is used on average 4/5 hours per day and allows a diversified use. Individuals have the ability to communicate with instant messaging features, share content through “moment” similar to a Facebook wall, pay via WeChat Pay and buy online via the social commerce features of the app.
The platform is crucial for brands entering the market. For this, you need to open an official account on the application that will allow you to broadcast content and interact with your customers and prospects.
It is a good way to improve your customer service since it allows a direct link with your consumers. Community Management on the platform is therefore crucial.
Weibo offers many services: from traditional social activities, to create micro-blog, send messages, follow brands, Kols and trends, live streaming, gaming activities. It is one-to-many platforms. On Weibo, you can have more followers and faster but on Wechat you have more impact on call to action, so you should learn to use them at the same time. One does not exclude the other.
Weibo helps to increase brand awareness, to ensure great visibility for events and promotions through ad-hoc communication with user-friendly content, to insert external links to the brand’s e-commerce, and to lead to word of mouth, which is very important in China.
Opt for physical distribution and for the e-commerce platform Xiaohongshu
The measures initiated by the government to develop the liberalization of domestic markets allow international brands to develop rapidly in China. Direct investment, franchise agreement, or sales intermediary are practices commonly used to improve the visibility and marketing in physical outlets in the territory.
Sell Baby/kid Clothes in Physical Store with Chinese retailers
With this in mind, we recommend that you collaborate with a Chinese distributor to market your products. Once you will have an e-reputation and a good brand image, it will be easier to find a partner.
On the other hand, online trading is very popular in the country, as we have seen previously. Developing a Store and being present in one of the most used e-commerce platforms is a market imperative for the visibility of foreign brands.
Promote your Baby/Kid brand Clothing Brand on Xiaohongshu
We suggest you start with Xiaohongshu, social commerce that allows users to buy products directly from the platform. Xiaohongshu is now a leader in cross-border e-commerce.
The user experience goes from browsing in the home, a content captures his attention, then there is the collecting information process and in the end, the user can buy the product. While in the traditional e-commerce platforms the user enters when he is interested in a product, in social commerce the user enters even also for diversion.
In 2019, Xiaohongshu counted over 85 million monthly active users on its platform. Its community is mainly composed of urban women (88%), 70% of whom were born after 1990, that are exactly the target audience of kids clothing in China.
Do you need a partner in China? Do you want to discuss your marketing strategy for your kids’ clothing brand?
Do not hesitate to understand the Chinese digital ecosystem and its operations to ensure you a place of choice in the market. Many agencies such as the Gentlemen Marketing Agency can also help you integrate into the Chinese market by accompanying you in your efforts and being your partner in the field.
Our agency is specialized in digital marketing is located in Shanghai. We are committed to collaborating with organizations to grow their business in China.
Read more about Baby/kid & Mother care in China:
- Business Guide for Mother & Baby Products in China
- Characteristics of the e-commerce market of maternity and baby goods in China
- Focus on the Chinese Baby boom, the deal of the century!