Helly Hansen, a Norwegian outdoor equipment brand, has been laying out in the Chinese market at full speed. With the latest opening of its first flagship store at Huaihai Road in Shanghai, a prime location for high-end brands in the Chinese city.
In addition to the traditional retail section, the store is designed to bring a more real outdoor experience into the indoor space with more participatory activities. Meanwhile, the whole storefront replicates a giant sailboat and 3D art screen recreating a virtual adventure in the sea, not only bringing customers into the experience but showing an alignment to the products and brand. These playful and fully immersive environments would draw in more young visitors who appreciate a rich consumer experience
The launch is a timely move, tapping into the nation’s enthusiasm for winter outdoor activities such as skiing, in the run-up to the Beijing Winter Olympics, which is set to kick off on 4 February. But the brand’s ambition in China goes beyond the winter season and into a sustained expansion into the country and gaining more market share over time. As Chinese consumers’ growing interest in outdoor activities could be a more consistent source of revenue for the brand all year round, with the initial Winter Olympic surge providing a foundation that can be enhanced further.
Driven by China’s related policies, such as the 14th Five-Year Plan for Developing Sports Industry and increasing awareness of physical health among young Chinese, the country has seen higher participation in outdoor activities. This is especially true in the less conventional options, such as hiking and camping, which are particularly popular among young Chinese. Therefore, bringing its store to these outdoor enthusiasts would be a shrewd move by the foreign player to win over its target consumers in China.
Such interest has been furthered in the time post-pandemic, as having been restrained indoors most of the time in the past two years, outdoor activities become a safe alternative to remain in touch with the outside world. Moreover, according to the 2021 China Outdoor Sports Big Data, major Chinese cities like Beijing and Shanghai saw the highest demand for such activities. The store in Shanghai, therefore, is a further step by the brand in laying out the Chinese market following its landing in China in 2021, with its first outlet opened in Beijing SKP, the world’s most profitable shopping mall.