Re-thinking strategies: How Parisian retailers are adapting to the new Chinese wave

Jing Daily noted that the historical, classic, luxurious, and romantic perception of Paris is no longer sufficient for attracting millennials. They are looking for meaningful, authentic experiences and brands need to add this dimension to maintain their appeal to Chinese millennials.

Despite a drop in tourism following recent terrorist attacks in France, the country was the first European destination to record 1.8 million Chinese visitors in 2016, according to a February report by Alliance 46.2. Millennials, aged 26 to 35 years old, made up 54% of travellers to France last year. Digital tools such as WeChat and travel apps mean that Chinese travellers are increasingly more independent in their travel planning, and are well-versed in the latest fashion trends and cultural and lifestyle events, said Jing Daily.

According to Juliette Duveau and Sophia Dumenil, founders of The Chinese Pulse, a creative marketing agency specialising in contemporary Chinese trends, shopping is one of the key activities for Chinese tourists in Paris, who spend an average of €1,500 a week. Chinese millennials mix their shopping with lifestyle activities and visit the latest concept stores that they have looked up on social media, said Duveau and Dumenil.

Jing Daily noted that Chinese millennials aspire to shop at more urban, ‘hyped’ Parisian brands and social media plays a big role in this preference. Creative labels, including Vêtements, Acne Studio, APC, Jacquemus, Kitsune, Olympia Le Tan, and Ami, are generating a growing buzz on social media in China, with more mentions in fashion editorials, blog posts, and tags by Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs).

G-Dragon has over 14 million followers on Instagram

In Asia, Vêtements made its debut when K-Pop megastar G-Dragon wore the label. One of his fans, Chinese actress Yang Mi, soon after posted a selfie on Weibo wearing a Vêtements sweatshirt, marking the brand’s first ‘unofficial’ step into China. Gogoboi, another important fashion influencer in China, attracted more than 7,000 likes with a picture featuring a Vêtements sweater.

Contemporary, premium fashion brands whose designs represent the French fashion spirit, are also appealing to Chinese millennials. Brands such as Maje, Sandro and Iro benefit from their existing presence in China and are able to communicate and build their Parisian notoriety among young Chinese, noted Jing Daily.

Other contemporary French brands with a similar price positioning, such as Sessùn and Ba&sh, have also begun to attract Chinese shoppers in Paris. “We have a growing number of Chinese consumers coming to shop here,” said a salesperson from Sessun’s Haut-Marais’s shop. “They come in the neighbourhood to visit the concept stores nearby and discover our shop while walking.”

Many young Chinese shoppers are willing to explore this more affordable style in Paris thanks to the combination of a quality retail experience and a close proximity to luxury boutiques, concluded Jing Daily.

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