Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Selfridges Chinese New Year
Image source: Selfridges, CNY

While luxury spending in China itself is decreasing, the appetite for spending away from home has risen by 10% over the past year – 78% of Chinese shoppers continue to buy their premium purchases abroad (Bain & Company, 2016). Chinese shoppers and Chinese New Year (CNY) – which falls on February 8 this year – therefore remain a critical target area.

From personalised gifting to reworked product edits, we highlight the best retail initiatives.

Department Store Drives:

  • US department store chain Bloomingdale’s is hosting events, in-store pop-up shops carrying giftable fashion and accessories edits and art installations in selected outposts. Additionally, it is giving away red envelopes containing special offers and gift-card prizes in denominations of the Chinese lucky number eight ($8, $88, $888).

The concepts complement permanent tourist-centric strategies including a welcome guidebook in simplified Chinese, and the provision of Mandarin-speaking sales staff on request.

  • American store Lord & Taylor is trading on the premise of ‘new year, new you’ with a beefed-up beauty proposition (new products and beauty sessions). It is also offering complementary red tote bags with every purchase, fortune cookies on all floors, and a CNY fashion edit window display.
  • British brand Selfridges is hosting a small in-store parade featuring live performances from Chinese musicians. It has also created CNY lucky red gift-card envelopes and is offering fortune cookies throughout the store. Several in-store brands, including fashion labels Coach and Ted Baker and luggage retailer Globe-Trotter, are offering complementary gifts and services for shoppers spending heavily. Gifts include limited-edition notebooks, personalisable gifting envelopes, CNY-themed charms and embossing services for leather products.
  • At its Manchester location (UK), British department store Harvey Nichols is hosting a CNY shopping event with live music and late shopping hours. It has also curated a bespoke, CNY-attuned edit of new-season fashion and accessories, and will be handing out lucky-dip envelopes to everyone spending £75+ ($107+) for the chance to win exclusive prizes. Its cardholders will also receive free beauty samples and tutorials, plus personalised fashion illustrations sketched live by British illustrator Dom&Ink.

Weekly-Stories-Bloomingdales-CNY Weekly-Stories-Lord-&-Taylor-CNY Weekly-Stories-Harvey-Nichols-CNY

Power of Personalisation

  • Chinese department store Lane Crawford has created a dedicated microsite called Lunar New Year 2016. Consumers can personalise e-greetings with an interactive ‘Calligraphy Creator’ that visualises virtually ‘handwritten’ messages selected from a range of graphic backgrounds designed by renowned contemporary Chinese artists. These can be sent via Facebook, Twitter or email.
  • At Selfridges, shoppers who spend more than £100 ($143) can personalise fans with traditional Chinese calligraphy for free via an expert stationed on the women’s accessories floor.
  • British luxury brand Burberry has launched a social media campaign allowing its WeChat account members to interact with its CNY collection. Users can tap, swipe and shake their phones to ‘unwrap’ gifts and personalise holiday greetings, which can then be forwarded on to their WeChat contacts.

Weekly-Stories-Lane-Crawford-CNY Weekly-Stories-Burberry-x-Dreamworks-CNY Weekly-Stories-Burberry-CNY

CNY-Themed Product Launches & Adaptations

  • Echoing Lord & Taylor’s ‘beauty boost’ approach to CNY, Lane Crawford has created a “New Year, New You Beauty Box” in collaboration with Chinese fashion designer Angel Chen. The box, which is covered in a vibrant flower print and converts into a handbag, houses deluxe beauty brands including Skin Laundry, Hourglass and Diptyque.
  • Sports giants Nike, Converse and Adidas have all released special edition trainers to celebrate CNY featuring traditional colours, such as red, or stitched, printed or embossed Chinese or Zodiac sign symbols.
  • Louis Vuitton, Salvatore Ferragamo and Prada have all introduced limited-edition leather accessories shaped like monkeys. Meanwhile, Kenzo has created a capsule collection of sweaters and T-shirts paying homage to the auspicious Chinese colours of red and gold, and emblazoned with the brand’s signature tiger.
  • Burberry’s e-initiative is supported by a rebooted collection of its signature products (cashmere scarves, trench coats and totes) reworked in ‘Parade Red’ and flashes of gold for the occasion.

Weekly-Stories-Lane-Crawford-Beauty-Box-CNY Weekly-Stories-Prada-CNY Weekly-Stories-Adidas-CNY

Guest post by Katie Baron & Stefanie Dorfer


“Next March, Otte, a small boutique chain in New York City, will open up a store in Shanghai — its first outside of the East Coast of the U.S. and a significant feat for a multi-line retailer that the majority of Americans haven’t even heard of.”

Read Article

Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Otte

“The Apple Watch is here at last — and the fashion retail world is getting firmly behind it. The company unveiled details of the long-awaited — and much-hyped — smartwatch, its first new product since the release of the iPad five years ago and its first true fashion item, at a media event here Monday that also included a slew of other product announcements, apps and an update on retail growth in China. “

Read Article

Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Apple Watch

“Chinese C2C ecommerce app Jiemi announced today that it has raised “several million USD” in series A funding from IDG Ventures. Jiemi, which was founded in 2014, is the brainchild of former Alibaba employee Wang Yang. Wang was one of the founding members of its daily deals service Juhuasuan, but his new venture has more global aspirations: Jiemi allows users to buy products from all over the world at a discount.”

Read Article

Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Jiemi

“Yet another Chinese company has thrown its hat into the virtual reality ring. Techies have been gushing about America’s Oculus Rift for years (though it’s still not commercially available), and Chinese products like ANTVR have already emerged as potential competitors, but now there’s another entry on that list: the Wasai.”

Read Article

Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Wasai

“, China’s largest online retailer in terms of direct sales, has taken another step to mesh its business with that of Tencent, the Chinese online messaging and gaming giant that bought a 15% stake in in March.”

Read Article

Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Alibaba
Image source:

Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, recently said: “In other countries, e-commerce is a way to shop, in China it is a lifestyle.” By 2015, ecommerce transactions in China are forecasted to hit $540bn and by 2020, China’s ecommerce market will grow larger than US, Britain, Japan, Germany, and France’s market combined.

There’s no doubt that Alibaba’s $25bn IPO in October changed the game for the e-commerce industry as a whole. What turned out to be the largest global IPO in history, has raised questions about the possible ramifications for already established online retailers, luxury brands and whether Alibaba is now a threat to their businesses.

The answer is not necessarily. Indeed, Alibaba has a robust international expansion plan that may change the way consumers shop in the West and Far East, but this could also benefit luxury retailers due to the growing unmet demand of Western products from Chinese consumers.

Alibaba’s IPO could give Western brands solid new opportunities to access Chinese consumers in abundance. Alibaba and its subsidiaries (Taobao, Tmall) have approximately 500 million registered users with 70 million daily visitors on Taobao alone.

Making purchases online from China for luxury goods based in America or Europe is still difficult for Chinese consumers. But as part of Alibaba’s international expansion plans, they will now enable Western retailers to sell to Chinese consumers on their marketplace platform Tmall international (similar to Amazon).

With its recent IPO, the company is now realising the revenue potential of allowing Western brands to sell to and access their customer portfolio, something that was previously shielded. This will allow Alibaba to create new revenue streams due the growing demand for Western goods by the Chinese who account for nearly 50 per cent of total global luxury sales.

One of the benefits of Alibaba allowing Western retailers access their Chinese customers includes a potential reduction in the number of counterfeiters that use Alibaba’s Aliexpress and Taobao platforms to sell fake branded products. This, in turn will force Alibaba to attempt to tackle the huge intellectual property and counterfeiting issues that the company faces on its platforms. Ultimately, however, by allowing Western retailers to reach the Chinese markets, Alibaba will open a two-way-street in international online trade, something that was previously absent in luxury fashion.

Some western retailers that have tried and failed to compete with Alibaba to bring Western goods to China include eBay and Amazon. Both do not yet possess the capacity to compete with Alibaba’s scale and customer following in China. Amazon China accounted for less than 3 per cent of total online transactions in 2013. And Alibaba recently reported that their total sales in 2013 were greater than that of eBay and Amazon’s combined.

Alibaba will ultimately have to adapt to the market Western customers are used to by listening to and implementing their feedback as well as streamlining their supply chain process to deliver goods from the West to the Far East and vice versa. But by allowing Western retailers to reach the Chinese markets, Alibaba will benefit considerably, namely by expanding on its core business model and thus maximising revenue potential from its international retail partners. With Alibaba’s new dominant presence in the US post-IPO and its budding international retail partnerships with Tmall, it seems the West have yet to see the true spending power of the Chinese.

Reported by Jessica Anuna

Decoded Fashion New York will take place on November 18-19, 2014 at Metropolitan West. The full agenda can be found here.


“Alipay, the Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA) financial affiliate controlled by Jack Ma, is trying to gain a foothold with U.S. retailers by offering them tools to help sell to consumers in China.”

Read Article

Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Alipay

“The new messaging feature is an extension of the Send a Pin feature, and it’s a long-overdue step in the direction of turning the site into a proper social network.”

Read Article

Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Shanghai

“China’s second-biggest ecommerce firm JD yesterday launched a new Kickstarter-like crowdfunding platform (hat-tip to TechNode). Fenziqian has 12 projects so far, sporting a combination of gadgets, movies, charity drives, and concerts.

The site bears a strong resemblance to Demohour, currently the biggest crowdfunding site in China with an emphasis on consumer electronics. Demohour has earned its reputation as the go-to place to crowdfund new gadgets in China, but JD certainly poses a threat with its far broader name recognition. Other Chinese crowdfunding sites include Dreamore, Knewbie, Angelcrunch, and iChuangye.”

Read Article

Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily