Italian luxury fashion label Gucci will open two flagship stores on Alibaba’s online luxury shopping platform, underlining the importance of the Chinese market for high-end brands looking to reverse a revenue drop due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Gucci is one of the most prized names to join the Tmall Luxury Pavilion platform, a platform for local Chinese and international businesses to sell brand name goods to consumers in Greater China. It was created in 2017 and is currently operated by the Chinese multinational tech company Alibaba. It now boasts of more than 200 brands ranging from apparel to high-end cars.
Gucci’s first flagship store, selling collections of fashion and leather goods, will open on December 21, the two companies announced in a joint statement. In February 2021, a second store focused on beauty products will be launched and operated by Gucci License Partner Coty.
China and the luxury market
In a year where global luxury spending has fallen dramatically, China’s domestic market is still poised to grow, as the region’s wealthy residents stayed close to home due to the coronavirus pandemic but splurged on jewelry, leather goods and fine wine.
Luxury goods were among the first purchases Chinese shoppers made in the aftermath of the pandemic. The Paris luxury goods provider LVMH saw a 65 percent spike in sales from China in the second quarter, compared to the same period in 2019. Luxury retailer Kering, also from Paris, experienced a 40 percent hike.
Historically, luxury markets in Europe and the United States have been fueled by international travel, especially of Chinese tourists. But new reports predict that the wealthy Chinese consumers are going to be doing much more of their spending locally in the years ahead, which will set the stage for China to become the world’s biggest luxury market by 2025.
The pandemic has pushed luxury brands, which used to be more reluctant to sell their products online, to move more business on the web, even through third parties. They also target young consumers who are expected to drive the recovery post-COVID-19.
Gucci has its own Chinese website, gucci.cn, and is present on all major Chinese social media platforms, including Weibo and WeChat. According to Alibaba, Tmall Luxury Pavilion has a consumer base of 750 million people.