Global luxury players attempt to unlock China’s lower-tier market through Kuaishou

Despite understanding the increasingly important role that short videos play in China’s digital marketing, luxury brands have long been showing a reluctance to associate themselves with Kuaishou, the biggest competitor to China’s TikTok, Douyin. This is out of worry that the platform’s ‘down-to-earth’ ambiance would go against their deluxe brands’ images.

But such attitude seems to be changing as more luxury brands have been embracing Kuaishou in recent years, with Coach, the American luxury label being the latest one to land on China’s second-largest video-sharing platform. Upon its launch on 15 April, the brand pressed ahead with a three-day live streaming event, teaming up with Kuaishou’s official e-commerce account “Kuaishou Shop” (which possesses nearly 200 million followers), through which the brand garnered more than 35,000 fans as of 18 April.

The move, on one hand, is due partly to Coach’s ambition to beef up its digitalisation in a bid to “strengthen the brand’s interaction with China’s young consumers”, according to the spokesperson for Coach. In the meantime, the brand is also set to expand its footprint to China’s second-and-third tier cities, as revealed by Coach’s parent, Tapestry Group in its 2021 Q3 report.

The majority of Kuaishou’s 1 billion+ monthly active users are concentrated in those lower-tier markets, where the appetite for extravagant purchasing has been growing faster than that of major cities. Therefore, Kuaishou would function as a key for Coach to penetrate its target consumers.

In fact, the video platform has already shown its potential to be an engine for luxury brands’ digital growth, with its first collaboration in 2020 with China’s leading luxury resale online platform Ponhu Luxury.  The ‘Super Luxury Day’, also China’s first vintage luxury live show, curated by Kuaishou saw more than 2.5 million tune-in, converting into 83,000 followers for the e-retailer during the two-hour live session.

A similar luxury e-commerce event in partnership with another Chinese online retailer Secoo in the following year also became an online hit, generating over 170 million views. These successful precedents eventually drew in global labels including Louis Vuitton, who brought its Nylon_China Summer Spring 22 menswear show to the live streaming room on Kuaishou, which saw an accumulated view of 38 million.


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