The economic recovery is confirmed in Asia for the year 2022. But the economic context is not the only explanation. The new generations consume differently than their elders. In China we see the boom in the swimwear market. And western luxury brands are starting to take an interest in it.
China: the new swimwear trend
In a context of economic recovery in luxury, China is a crucial market. And the progress is still significant. In a country where the holiday culture is just starting to gain traction, the swimwear market in China is now very attractive to luxury brands.
According to the latest analysis from China Baogao, China’s swimwear market is constantly growing. It represented $4.6 billion in 2019. In the wake of the health crisis, the market should reach $6 billion by 2022. And the report indicates that the margin of progress for the coming years is still significant.
The enthusiasm can also be found on social networks. On the Chinese network RD, the hashtag #swimwearrecommendations continues to break impression records. Swimwear is now one of the most viewed lifestyle trends by users. And many Chinese influencers are now partnering with swimwear brands.
New consumer trends in China
Why such an interest? Because summer vacations in China are now widely democratized. Just as China sees a boom in winter sports, there is now a boom in summer vacations. And this trend is leading to a huge interest in swimwear.
The younger generations are not simply adopting the summer lifestyle of Western consumers. They adjust it in their own way. And we are already seeing very remarkable differences between popular swimwear products in China and western bestsellers. A cultural divide that luxury brands will have to take into account if they want to capitalize on the rise of swimwear in China.
Swimwear market in China: the rules of the game for luxury
In a market that is already very much attracted to Western luxury brands, the latter have every interest in quickly positioning themselves in the lively swimwear segment. But the key to success will depend on taking into account the cultural differences between Chinese and Western consumers.
The conservatism of Chinese consumers is particularly blatant in the swimwear segment. In the women’s magazine press, the bikini does not make young Chinese women dream. And models deemed too provocative scare off customers. What is the best-selling swimsuit model in China? The one-piece swimsuit. Which largely goes against the grain of western consumer trends, where the two-part piece remains the bestseller.
In his latest article on buying swimsuits in China, Jing Daily also highlighted a crucial point. Brands will have to take into account the differences in morphology between Asian and Western customers. Chinese customers can afford luxury swimwear. But it is still necessary that they really correspond to his needs and his taste.
Luxury swimwear in China: promising first steps
At present, several western luxury brands have started to implement a specific strategy in the Chinese market. In October 2021, Michael Kors led a great communications operation. The American brand presented its new collection by calling on various influencers. The latter wore the brand’s latest one-piece swimsuits. And the relay race on social networks ensured great visibility of this new swimwear collection.
The British brand Agent Provocateur has also made an effort to adapt to the Chinese market. Exit pin up silhouettes. The brand is responding to one-piece swimsuits with a more sober design to meet the Chinese criteria. Louis Vuitton, for its part, preferred to play the product placement card in a popular Chinese reality TV show: Single’s Inferno. Good choice: The media attention of the swimsuit presented on screen quickly created the buzz on RED.
How do you surf the Chinese fashion for swimwear?
In the field of swimwear, western luxury brands leave with an advantage: their fame. Chinese consumers are already familiar with it and their desirability is greatest. But is it enough? Probably not. Western luxury brands will have to put in more effort to stand out.
In the future, we can imagine capsule collections produced in collaboration with Chinese stars and influencers. Brands will also have a vested interest in investing more money in web marketing campaigns targeting social networks.
Another crucial element: the ability to deploy more targeted outlets. In Europe and the United States, luxury brands are already used to opening pop-up stores in summer. They open their doors in resorts that are popular with luxury customers. And these outlets generally offer a more immersive and themed shopping experience than standard stores.
As seasonal tourism develops in China, this option becomes more and more attractive. China already has some dream destinations for summer vacations. The island of Hainan, for example, which already attracts a rather privileged clientele thanks to its luxury hotels. So, when will Dior, Chanel or Prada pop-up stores for swimwear collections hit the island?