A look at the Chinese market with Ivo Au Yeung

6 is symbolic of good fortune in China and is considered a great number for business. So we asked Ivo Au Yeung from RollingKids & C.O.T.E. collective to tell us 6 things we should know about the kids’ fashion & lifestyle market to bring you success in the Chinese market.

3.7% the projected annual growth in China’s children’s market


1. Market potential

A little cliché, but China currently has a population of 1.4 billion, and despite a declining birthrate this past decade there are still 9 million+ newborns a year in the previous two years and over a quarter of billion that are aged below 18 years. The China childrens’ clothing market is in comparison to similar sectors such as womens’ and mens’ clothing growing in double digits rather than singles. An interesting market to pursue “Good Fortune”.

2. Understanding your target market

Despite the sheer size in numbers, the kids’ sector in China is quite segmented. Looking at kids’ clothing only for example, the top kidswear brand operates more than 4,600 stores in China, yet holds a total market share of a mere 6%. On one side, it means there is still a lot of potential to penetrate the market, but on the other side, there has to be a realization that it would be impossible to target the entire Chinese market for kids. Instead, we should through market segmentation locate and focus first on the target consumer of the brand, and further go from there.

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3. China strategy

It can be seen throughout history, but to have lasting “Good Fortune” in the China market isn’t as straightforward, and one would need to have a ‘China strategy’ for this specific market. China offers many possibilities yet is quite volatile. Focus is key in this particular market, just as being adaptable to change. This strategy will include factors such as brand positioning, determining a range of products to primarily focus on, its target markets, the distribution, the incorporation of Chinese Social Media (Wechat, Little Redbook, Douyin etc.), KOL/KOC and influencers, etc.

4. Partnerships

China is a big country, and engaging in partnerships in China whether with a manufacturer, representative/agent/ distributor, or with a retail store, can be quite a process and come with question marks. I believe that successful partnerships in our sector are formed through having the same core values, to have the matching long-term visions and goals and clear communications that will allow higher probability of ”Good Fortune”.

5. Communication & localising

Cultures and language may vary, but appreciation is mutual. At times when introducing something new, it would always be advisable to have it looked at from both sides. Be it a symbol, a print, a color, but also even a story that may not necessarily resonate as expected elsewhere. Local collaborations with brands or partners can also help with reaching a new audience in China. Basically, it is fundamental to communicate with all parties so that new opportunities can be sought.

6. Long term focus & partnerships

When waking up, the challenge is to not only make an impact on today’s kids’ fashion and lifestyle choices, but also the next few upcoming generations to come. Even though China is full of potential and changing very fast, we need to look much further ahead, and at the same time take things one step at a time.

Or as the Chinese proverb says:
“A thousand mile journey begins with the first step”

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This edition:

Playtime Paris

29 June-1 July, 2024