China’s $103 billion jewelry industry is extremely lucrative and competitive. As such, breaking into the mostly local jeweler market can be quite the tough feat to tackle.
Social media and messaging platforms have become vital parts of a brand’s marketing strategy. We have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat… and then there’s WeChat, China’s top messaging app, which boasts as many as 850 million monthly users.
WeChat, owned by Chinese internet giant Tencent, is also “the most important platform for luxury brands” in China today.
One of the areas where most local jewelers look to in terms of promotion are those 850 million active monthly users on China’s WeChat social media platform. What makes it slightly easier for China area vendors is the fact that they are local which allows for consumers to physically try out the products — a necessary component for shoppers in the country. This makes it extremely difficult for brands outside of China to break through.
One western company that’s hoping its efforts will succeed is high-end jeweler Cartier. Just last year, Cartier unveiled a WeChat storefront which was the first time it made the foray into the eCommerce world on the social media platform. While other western jewelers like Bulgari and Tiffany have utilized flash sale options, Cartier is diving in head first with its offering.
The Richemont-owned brand sells around 60 products via WeChat, including its Clou collection, which has a pink gold and diamond ring on sale for $3,550. Cartier says that it plans to expand its WeChat range and is monitoring other Chinese shopping sites for opportunities as site quality and reliability improve.
Cartier’s decision to move into the Chinese market via WeChat may help break down the barriers for others to follow suit. Investment company Exane BNP Paribas’ luxury analyst, Luca Solca, shared his thoughts on how Western products can complete the transition into the Chinese market. He said, “Western brands bring in the Western flair, the Western design and the Western magic, but in order to sell it, they need to be present. It’s a matter of waking up and coming to the party. I don’t think there is first-mover advantage. People buy brands, so the moment they are available, they will go to them.”
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